Katherine A. Holley
Name of Host Organization: Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
City, State: Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue area: Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation
Katherine worked to ensure that income and work support benefits were delivered to eligible low-income individuals and families in a timely, efficient, and rule-based manner by providing direct legal services and investigating systemic issues that may be the cause of a decline in the number of eligible beneficiaries receiving Ohio Works First cash benefits.
Need Addressed By Project
In Ohio, the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) administers public benefits such as Ohio Works First (OWF) cash benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and subsidized child care. Each county has its own DJFS office. With the high volume of new SNAP recipients in Ohio and the significant cuts to the funding of DJFS, many counties have experienced significant backlogs and delays in processing applications, higher than normal incidences of lost paperwork, improper recertification processes, and general misapplication of eligibility rules. Individual applicants need legal representation to ensure they receive the benefits for which they are eligible and advocacy to address systemic issues that hinder the timely and accurate processing of applications.