Ohio Benefit Bank

FAQs

What is the Ohio Benefit Bank?

The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) is a counselor-assisted program that combines access to work support programs and free tax filing services. It is a FREE, web-based software program that connects Ohioans to over 20 sources of assistance, including:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as Food Stamps or Food Assistance)
  • Health Coverage, including Healthy Start and Healthy Families
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Medical Benefits, including Medicaid for the Aged, Blind & Disabled and Medicare Premium Assistance
  • Prescription Assistance, including Medicare Rx Extra Help
  • Ohio Works First (OWF)
  • Ohio Child Care Assistance

 

What does an OBB session look like?

With counselor assistance, clients answer a series of simple questions about their household size, income, medical and dependent care expenses, and housing and utility expenses. The OBB software estimates eligibility of the client, populates benefit applications, and electronically submits them to the appropriate agency.

The client leaves the OBB session with copies of completed applications that have been submitted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, a guide for follow-up steps, and a checklist of documents they will need when visiting JFS.

For more information about the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and for locations in your area, visit the Foodbank’s Community Connections page.

 

Is there a cost with OBB?

Absolutely not! The purpose of the OBB is to make benefits and tax filing easily accessible for everyone. The Ohio Benefit Bank is:

  • A FREE web-based program that provides access to work support programs and tax credits
  • A FREE Income Enhancement Program
  • A FREE application completion program
  • A FREE potential eligibility calculator
  • A FREE tool that connects communities to existing programs and resources

 

Does the OBB do anything else besides complete applications for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services? 

Yes. The OBB also offers free tax services. Anyone with an income under $57,000 can electronically file or paper file for absolutely free. OBB counselors help individuals file state and federal taxes and apply for tax credits, including:

  • Earned Income Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Additional Child Tax Credit
  • Child & Dependent Care Credit
  • Hope Education Credit
  • Lifetime Learning Credit
  • State and Federal Back Taxes

Individuals are also invited to use the OBB's free, online self-serve tax software, which can be found at by clicking here.

In addition, the OBB can also aid clients with many other applications, including:

  • Voter Registration
  • Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Ohio's Best Rx
  • Golden Buckeye
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Ohio

 

Is personal information entered into the OBB system secure?

Yes. Client information is not stored on any computer, nor are there paper files of client applications. This ensures that confidentiality is not an issue for the client or the counselor. Since the OBB system is web-based, client information is stored on a secure server in Pennsylvania. The server meets IRS security standards for storing tax information and the OBB adheres to a strict privacy policy. Additionally, all of the pass codes that allow access to client information are created by the clients and are not kept on file. The OBB is a two-key system and can only be accessed by both the client and the counselor; therefore, counselors cannot log into a client's profile without her/his presence.

 

Filling out applications can be confusing. How does OBB help clients understand the application process?



We want clients to be empowered to help themselves; counselors are merely here to walk them through the application process. To ensure there is total client comprehension:

  • The OBB site is multi-lingual (English and Spanish).
  • Questions are written at a basic reading level.
  • Counselors provide follow-up instructions to clients.
  • Counselors also supply clients with detailed steps in the application process.
  • Counselors pose questions prompted by the program.

 

I don't work or volunteer for an agency that can become involved at this time. Can I still be a counselor?

Yes! If you would like to be trained as a counselor but you don't have an agency to serve with yet, we can connect you with an agency that needs volunteer counselors! Email your Community Organizer to be connected with this rewarding volunteer experience.

Carroll, Portage, Stark, and Tuscarawas Counties:
Carli Nelson at 330-777-2303 or by email at cenlson@acrfb.org.

Holmes, Medina, Summit and Wayne Counties:
Laura Vanzo at 330-572-3101 or by email at lvanzo@acrfb.org.

 

My agency does not have the resources to serve as an OBB site. Are there any other ways that we can help the Ohio Benefit Bank's efforts?

Yes! The Ohio Benefit Bank is always looking for opportunities to reach out to Ohioans in need, as well as to local agencies that may want to partner with the OBB. Some of the OBB's target audiences include families, senior citizens, and the underemployed. If you know of any outreach events or opportunities in your community, please contact your Community Organizer so that the OBB can spread the word about its services.

In addition, the OBB relies heavily on a referral system to connect its clients with its counselors. If you cannot be trained to serve as a counselor at this time, but you know individuals who are in need, take a look at our Quick Check, a three-minute outreach tool. The Quick Check can screen Ohioans for eligibility and encourage them to continue with the application process. You can also use the Benefit Bank's Site Finder to connect clients to existing OBB sites in their area.

 

 

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