Ohio Benefit Bank: Fast access to government assistance

12:44 PM, Jan 22, 2010   |    comments
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Every year, nearly $2 billion in benefits and tax credits go unclaimed in the State of Ohio.

The Benefit Bank helps Ohioans find out if they are eligible for certain benefits and directs them to those potential supports.

"Benefit Bank is an online software program that can actually register people, help them apply for a wide variety of public benefits," says Kristin Warzocha, of the Cleveland Foodbank.

"People are frequently surprised to learn that they might be eligible for public assistance," Warzocha tells WKYC. "And the fact is, if you're struggling, if you're having a hard time getting by, it's worth a check."

Ohio Benefit Bank has matched 70,000 Ohioans with various forms of assistance, from free income tax preparation to food stamps to child care support.

"They're really helpful," says Linda Cardarelli, who was having a tough time since moving back home to Parma Heights from New York about five months ago.

She found out from a Benefit Bank counselor that she was eligible for free eyeglasses, a cell phone to use in emergencies, and for food stamps, now known as the SNAP program.

"People just don't know," Cardarelli said, about the Ohio Benefit Bank. "I never really knew about it either." She learned of the program during a visit to the Parma Heights Food Bank.

The Cleveland Foodbank estimates 500,000 Ohioans are eligible for food stamps but have never applied for the SNAP program. The Ohio Benefit Bank can quickly determine if a person or family is eligible.

For more information or to locate an Ohio Benefit Bank site near you, use our link to WKYC Hero Central/Ohio Benefit Bank.

WKYC-TV

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