Monday, January 6, 2014

The States and the Feds Make Finding Benefits Easier Than Ever

This fall, the state of Ohio decided to make searching for all its benefits for individuals more centralized.  Despite what you may have read from frauds and ignoramuses, "free money" and "grants" by the government are just benefits, like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, plus other helpful stuff like child care for the working poor, heating assistance, job training, etc.  So if you need cash help with your life, you are in fact looking for "benefits." 

In Ohio, you need to start with the benefits page.  It directly links you to medicaid (which Ohio decided to expand in the last few months), but also heating assistance, employment, cash assistance, WIC, and unemployment insurance, and links to more types of assistance, tooIn New York state, the bennies page is mybenefits.  However, if your state does not have a one-stop shop for benefits of all kinds, try the federal benefit page, and the state-by-state benefit page set up for easy browsing. If you wish to search for benefits within your state, a good strategy might be to go to google and simply type: benefits (name of your state) and last bit is important--it limits your search to ONLY sites with the .gov designation.

However, don't forget to check for community action agencies in your area.  These are nonprofit rather than government agencies. Often, states contract out benefits like job training and energy assistance to them, and the people working there are knowledgeable about programs that you could qualify for.  Find the community action agency that covers your area here.

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