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If I’m homeless or don’t have an address, can I still get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP—previously known as “food stamps”)?
Yes. When you identify as homeless, you are not required to verify where you live; but you must identify yourself as homeless. If you are staying in a shelter, you may want to consider bringing a verification letter to your county department of job and family services.
Am I allowed to go to a food pantry as a single person?
Yes. Food pantries do serve single person households and youth headed households. Be sure that you know what documentation to bring. The documents that you usually need are identification, proof of address (if different from the one on your ID) and ID for everyone in the household (insurance cards, letters from school, etc.). You will also sign a statement of income.
If I had Social Security Income (SSI) as a minor, do I still have the right to receive it as an adult?
Maybe. Generally, 30 days before your 18th birthday, you will need to contact your local Social Security Administration office and apply for SSI benefits as an adult. The Social Security Administration will evaluate you to determine if you meet the federal definition of a disabled adult and the extent to which your disability impacts your ability to work and earn income. Be sure to keep all of your documentation and original copies of paperwork that you submit.
If you are a young adult preparing to age out of foster care, you can apply for SSI benefits as early as 180 days (6 months) before you exit from foster care.
Do I need a parent or legal guardian’s consent to apply for SSI?
Beginning at age 17 ½ and older, you can apply for SSI benefits on your own and without consent from a parent or legal guardian as long as you are mentally competent, do not have an appointed guardian ad litem and are not living in an institution. If you are younger than 17 ½, you will need the consent of a parent, legal guardian or guardian ad litem to apply for SSI benefits.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is health insurance that is available to income eligible persons. You must apply for Medicaid in order to receive the benefit. Typically, applications are submitted either to your county Department of Job & Family Services.
Do I have the right to access any medical care option available to me with Medicaid?
No. It is important to understand that medicaid, as a health insurance provider, already has parameters around what is and is not a covered procedure. And while some procedures are covered, they require a series of prior authorization steps that have to be completed before approval. To prevent yourself from incurring medical bills, you will want to check with your medical provider to ensure that they accept Medicaid and that any procedure being done is covered by Medicaid.
My utilities are about to get shut off; who can I call?
You will want to contact your utility provider as soon as you receive the disconnect notice. It is important that you do not wait until the last minute to contact the utility provider. If you are living with someone else who is responsible for paying the bills or their name is on the utility account, you will want to encourage them to contact the utility to try and make arrangements for payment. You may also want to check and see if there are community resources that are able to assist in payment of the bill.
Do I have additional protections from utility shut off if I have a medical condition?
Yes. The utility company can provide you with a medical certification waiver, which you would be required to have your treating physician complete on your behalf. You will want to ask the utility company how they would like they would like to receive the form back. Please note: you must have a qualifying medical condition to to prevent utility shut off.
I can't get medical verification because my doctor's office is closed; doesn’t the utility company have to work with me?
No. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has strict guidelines about when and how utility companies handle disconnect notices, including how far advance notice to give customers.