Financial Assistance

Cuyahoga County Division of Job and Family Services works to provide comprehensive child support assistance and administers public benefits, including Medicaid, food assistance, child care assistance, emergency assistance, as well as job training and placement services for Ohio Works First cash recipients.

Cuyahoga County Division of Job and Family Services (Main Building)
1641 Payne Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Cuyahoga Benefits Application Hotline: 216-416-4440

Job and Family Services Programs:

Ohio Works First Assistance
OWF (Ohio Works First) provides time-limited cash benefits and supportive services to low-income families with children.
  • Cash assistance benefits are limited to 36 months in a lifetime. Hardship extensions can be granted based upon individual circumstances related to a combination of factors such as a severely disabling condition, but primarily based upon an inability to be employed.
  • Once enrolled in the Ohio Works First Program, adult recipients are supported in meeting the requirement to participate in a combination of activities such as employment, education, work experience programs, job skill development programs, and/or job search/job readiness programs.

PRC - Prevention, Retention, Contingency
This program provides aid to families in the form of a voucher to buy items or pay for services that are emergencies and non-recurring (a situation not extending beyond four months) and which cannot be addressed using existing community resources. This program is generally for families at 200% or less of the federal poverty guidelines with at least one minor child.

Applicants must also show a change in circumstance that caused the need for assistance. In general, PRC can help those who fall into at least one of the four following categories, but it is recommended you file an application to explore your options. Qualifying situations may include:
  1. Families needing help to seek, begin or maintain employment, or those who are enrolled in an approved education or training program.
  2. Those who need rent or security deposit help and who have evidence of a court-ordered eviction or lead poisoning in the home.
  3. Those involved with the Department of Children and Family Services, a domestic violence program, or homeless program, and who are establishing a household.
  4. Families impacted by a fire or state declared disaster.

Other Programs:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD)
  • SSI provides payments to individuals who have physical or mental disabilities, that significantly impair overall functioning (must meet household income eligibility requirements)
  • SSD pays benefits to disabled workers and their families. To be eligible, you must be disabled and must have earned a minimum number of credits from work covered under Social Security. The required number of credits varies depending on your age at the time you become disabled.
  • To qualify as disabled, you must be unable to do any kind of substantial, gainful work “due to a physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.”
  • You are not eligible to receive SSI benefits for any full calendar month you are in prison.
  • Social Security has a pre-release procedure you may use to apply for SSI benefits while still in prison. It is not available at all facilities. Check with your case manager at the prison.
  • It may take a while to get your benefits. It could take six months or longer. For information and the number of a branch near you contact:

    U.S. Social Security Administration

Social Security Retirement Benefits
  • If you are age 62 or older and have worked enough under the Social Security system, you are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.
  • Working “under the table” does not count towards your work requirement for Social Security. You might want to keep this in mind when you are looking for jobs.
  • You can receive this financial assistance in addition to unemployment compensation (although it may affect your unemployment benefits).
  • You should apply at least three months before you want benefits to begin.
  • If you choose to receive benefits before age 65, you will not be eligible for Medicare (health insurance) until you turn 65 or unless you qualify based on disability or certain health conditions. For information and the number of a branch near you contact:

    U.S. Social Security Administration

Unemployment Compensation
Unemployment Compensation provides financial assistance for those who have been laid off and who are currently unemployed through no fault of their own. To qualify, applicants must have worked at least 20 weeks and earned an average of at least $237 a week during the past year and a half (roughly).
  • Eligible workers receive up to 26 weeks of basic benefits. Those laid-off as the result of foreign competition can receive extended benefits known as Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA). Sometimes benefits are extended by the government if the unemployment rate is high.
  • Apply for Unemployment Compensation immediately after losing your job. This may help you receive the maximum benefit amount and it may be several weeks until you receive your first check.
  • If you are denied benefits, you have the right to appeal within 21 days.
  • You may work and collect unemployment at the same time if your earnings are less than your weekly unemployment benefit amount. However, working may reduce your payment. For information and to apply via phone or internet, contact:

    Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services