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Government and public assistance in Lorain County.

Government benefits and entitlements in Lorain County can help prevent hunger and homelessness. Applications for both federal and state aid are processed by the Department of Job and Family Services, and any type of assistance will be combined with case management and other employment support.

When seeking help from the county, they will require the applicant to be participating in some form of job placement or training program, such as WorkFirst. This is a requirement as public benefits are intended to be short term solutions to help a resident gain long term stability. Any type of support in Lorain County is not intended to be a never ending entitlement.

The main JFS programs in Lorain County are below. Most will have a waiting list in place.

Cash assistance is administered as part of Ohio Works First. While the county can provide a grant for paying bills and living costs, the real intent of the program is on personal responsibility and employment. Participants will need to take on responsibility for their own financial situation, and this will include employment and budgeting their income.

While there are restrictions in place, Work First can provide families with public assistance for child care costs, housing, food, rent and other needs. There are limits as to what the funds can be used for as well as how long the money is issued for.

The Department of Job and Family Services will also stress employment as part of this. Clients can get information on how to conduct a job search, complete a resume, and other free advice from counselors. Other services include Adult Basic Literacy Education, GED testing, and more.

Lorain County job centers are part of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The locations help the unemployed or people looking for new skills. Case managers and specialists provide help for displaced homemakers, laid off employees, seniors, and youth, among others. There are free computer labs on site, classes on resume creation, and other forms of support, all with the goal of helping people gain meaningful employment.




Other grant programs from JFS include child support, Prevention Retention and Contingency, applications for utility bill help from HEAP, and assistance for paying child care costs. The social service office also works closely with non-profits in Lorain County on shelters and food pantries, among other programs.

Food assistance is available in Lorain County. This is the state's version of SNAP. The federal government program will help families buy the groceries they need to feed their families, and many low income families in Lorain County are able to avoid hunger as a result of this.

Clients will be issued an EBT card or voucher to use while shopping, and most grocery stores and retailers accept them. While the amount of aid provided will depend on the household size and income, in general it makes a big difference in buying food.

Heath care is arranged as part of Medicaid. This offers individuals public assistance in the form of insurance to families in poverty, children, the disabled, and pregnant mothers, among others. The patients will need to pay a portion of their bills, and use approved doctors in Lorain County, but it can still help those with no other options.

In most cases the resident will need to pay a monthly premium for their medical needs, including prescription drugs. However, after someone is enrolled, they will get help in paying for long-term care, doctor bills, medications, and other expenses.




Partnering with the social security administration, the county can help the disabled apply for public aid from SSI. This is a form of support for members of households that either can't work, or are limited due to a serious medical condition or disability. The application process is extensive and can take months, and many people will also be denied. However, more information can be provided by Lorain County social services.

Call the Lorain County Job and Family Services call center at (440) 284-4300. Specialists can provide information on all of the benefits that may be available and even offer referrals to housing, shelter, and food pantries. Or the main intake office is at  42485 N Ridge Rd, Elyria, Ohio 44035.


By Jon McNamara

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