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Cuyahoga County public assistance.

Public assistance is available in Cuyahoga County Ohio for a diverse number of needs. Whether you need help with food, energy assistance, child care, and medical bills, social services and public aid may be able to help. Assistance is offered for the low income, seniors, disabled, and people who are most at risk in the community.

The Cuyahoga County Food Assistance Program is offered for people with low or no income. Many people on social security, fixed incomes or public assistance may qualify. This resource helps qualified families buy food and groceries for themselves and their family. If you apply and are found to be qualified, clients will receive a cash payment or the Ohio Direction Benefit Card, both of which are paid for by the government. Almost 1000 stores in Cuyahoga County accept and can provide food assistance.

The exact dollar amount of government Food Assistance Benefits distributed will depend on many factors, including income and number of family members. However the goal is to keep people nourished and help them make it through a difficult period. In addition to receiving food, self-sufficiency and other social services will be administered.

Financial help from the Child Care Assistance Program can help low income families pay some of their child and day care expenses every month. A key of the Cuyahoga County Child Care Assistance Program is it gives families the added flexibility of choosing a child care center, select day care by a relative or other adult based on your family’s individual needs, or they can even select a child care home. Cash assistance is offered to pay bills if it can help you attend job training or keep your job.

Cuyahoga County Prevention, Retention and Contingency Program, or PRC, can help with an emergency. Depending on your crisis and other factors, emergency public assistance may be offered for paying rent, utilities, food, clothing, care repairs, and other bills. Some of those who can be helped include:

  • Persons seeking assistance in order to get a job, or Cuyahoga County individuals engaged in post-secondary education in an approved, accredited program may be able to receive clothing for work or access to job training programs, vehicle repair, or education expenses.





  • Housing assistance services for emergency security deposit or rental assistance is offered when there is lead poisoning in the house or evidence of a court proceeding for eviction. The county may be able to offer public funds for paying rent security deposit. Additional cash can help pay utilities if someone has a shut off notice or faced with disconnection. Or get assistance in finding housing in Cleveland or the surrounding county.

If you are re-establishing a household or are participating in a domestic violence or housing program, then the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services may be able to assist. Assistance can include money for paying rent and/or free furniture, appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, children's beds, and children's clothing.

Families impacted by fires or natural disasters may qualify for public aid too. Apply for rental assistance or money to pay security deposit for a new home, furniture, appliances, stoves refrigerators, children's clothing, and items such as children's beds.

Healthy Start/Healthy Families is really Children's Health Insurance. Free government health insurance can be provided to children and teenagers of low to moderate-income families with children up to age 19 across Cleveland and the county.  Healthy Families can also help pregnant women and parents, and they will also be eligible to apply for public health insurance from the state of Ohio.

If you apply and are found to be qualified, you will be entered into a Managed Care Plan (MCP). This provides patients with a wide variety of health care services and medical bill assistance, including immunizations, well-child checkups, free dental care and treatment, eyeglasses and vision care, prescribed medicine, emergency care, and hospitalization. Pregnant women who are enrolled can receive postnatal and prenatal services.

Ohio Medicaid for People with Disabilities and Older Adults is provided by the Human Services agency. This federal government service really includes a span of public health care assistance programs for people with disabilities, seniors and older adults. The program can assist with medical bills. These health care programs provide health care coverage consisting of free or low cost acute-care benefit packages and primary along with long-term medical care. Another option to keep in mind is that working Ohioans with disabilities may also be interested in the Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities program which is another statewide social service program.





Get help applying for Weatherization Programs and Home Energy Assistance, which can be facilitated by Cuyahoga County. There are additional government services and assistance that can help, such as LIHEAP or the state of Ohio Winter Reconnect Order. Find more utility assistance programs.

Receive cash assistance and employment services from the Cuyahoga County Ohio Works First (OWF) program. Public assistance is available while families are working towards economic self-sufficiency and full-time employment. If you qualify for OWF, the amount of your cash assistance will be based on your family’s income as well as the number of people in your household. Ohio Works First can provide cash benefits for up to three years.

Families who are enrolled will receive the government benefits through the Ohio EPPICard program. Even if you receive cash assistance, other government benefits such as subsidized child care, children’s health insurance, and free food assistance may be available to your family.

If you do receive cash, then clients will also be required to participate in self-sufficiency and job training programs. The goal is to help low income people get find work and improve their income.

Your Cuyahoga County social worker will connect you to a wide variety of resources and financial assistance programs to help people improve their skills, find a better job, and stay employed. Some of the activities that people may need to participate in include school or a job training program, volunteer work to help people both develop a work history and good job references, and assistance in looking for a job.

The Cuyahoga County Employment and Family Services, which is based in Cleveland and can be reached at 216-987-7010, runs many of these services for residents. Call them to apply or get more more information.




By Jon McNamara

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