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News for Community Partners from Legal Aid

Posted June 12, 2020
5:09 pm

Please see these important updates related to COVID-19 as well as other information in the message below–

Questions? Contact Anne Sweeney, Managing Attorney for Community Engagement, at 

Legal Aid Updates: 

Legal Aid launched a Worker Information Line! People with questions about employment rights, benefits, or unemployment assistance should call 216.861.5899 in Cuyahoga County and 440.210.4532 in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake or Lorain Counties.

Legal Aid helps tenants who can’t afford rent because of the pandemic. Low-income households behind on rent as a result of the pandemic should contact Legal Aid to find out if emergency rent assistance is available to them. Call 1.888.817.3777 during most business hours or apply online anytime at  

Legal Aid helps older adults with limited income plan for the future. Legal Aid may be able to help older adults prepare a last will and testament, health care power of attorney, living will, durable powers of attorney and property transfers outside of probate. Older adults with low income can apply by calling Legal Aid’s intake at 1.888.817.3777 or online at For more information, see this bilingual English and Spanish flyer.

Local Updates: 

EDEN began accepting applications on May 11th for emergency financial assistance. The application can be found online at Households applying must be homeless or at risk of homelessness, have custody of a minor child in the home and have income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Assistance will be available for rent including arrearages, security deposits, and utility deposits and arrearages. These funds are coming through TANF and are only available through June 30, 2020. Click here to learn more or to apply. 

Funds are now available through UCAN to help Lorain County residents affected by COVID-19. These funds can help with rent and utilities. Applicants do not need to be working to apply for these funds. The application can be found online, here.

Tenants in Lake and Geauga Counties in need of emergency rent assistance should contact the Fair Housing Resource Center at 1.440.392.0147.

Neighborhood Family Practice is now offering telemedicine appointments. Is COVID-19 impacting your work, education, or health insurance? Are you having medical or mental health issues that need attention? To schedule a virtual visit today with an NFP provider, call 216.281.0872. For more information about NFP services and for answers to frequently asked questions about telemedicine, visit or read this flyer.  

Signature Health is now offering Telemedicine services to those with Medicare, Medicaid and those with no health insurance at all. To schedule a telemedicine appointment with Signature Health, call 440.578.8200. To learn more, visit

The Cuyahoga County Earned Income Tax Coalition is now accepting in-person appointments for qualifying individuals and families to get their taxes prepared for FREE by IRS-certified volunteers. Schedule an appointment today at The new filing deadline is July 15, 2020. 

Neighbor Up has created COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants. These grants are providing financial assistance to grassroots neighborhood civic groups as well as small non-profits and faith-based organizations for efforts related to the provision of needs during COVID-19. The funds are intended to enable these civic groups and organizations to be responsive to emergency and basic needs requests, provide support for operations, and/or reduce social isolation. Applicants must be 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations or work with a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor. Grants will cover a 12-week period and will be between $500 and $5,000. These grants are available to applicants in Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga Counties. For other grant guidelines or to learn how to apply, click here

Ashtabula County Community Action has created a weekly newsletter to help keep you connected during this time. Click here to see the newsletter from the week of June 7th! This is just a small highlight and may not contain all the information you need. For more resources and for up-to-date information, contact 2-1-1- Ashtabula County! 

2-1-1 Ashtabula County is now offering texting! In addition to calling 2-1-1 and visiting, you can text "COVID19" to 211-211 to receive a list of helpful links of general COVID-19 resources. You will also be asked for your zip code and be invited to start a text conversation with a local 2-1-1 Ashtabula County information specialist. This service is available Monday through Friday between 8am and 4pm. Data and messaging rates apply.  

Head Start of Lorain County is currently accepting applications. They have been working with families remotely through the pandemic. Although the Lorain County Community Action Agency building is currently closed to the public, services are still being provided. The LCCAA Bike Shop is open by appointment. You can contact Bobby Taylor at for more information. The Getting Ahead Program is being held online. You can contact Amy Steele at for more information.

State Updates:

Food assistance for families with children in kindergarten through twelfth grade is provided through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). All school-age children that are eligible for free and reduced-price meals will receive P-EBT benefits. Each child is eligible for $5.70 for each day a school is closed due to COVID-19. For more information about the P-EBT benefits, see this flyer. For questions about benefits, see more info here or contact the ODJFS customer service line at 1.866.244.0071.

Water service cannot be disconnected for non-payment at this time because of the pandemic. But, in some places, municipal utilities are actually sending out shutoff notices. Effective March 26, 2020 the Ohio EPA issued a Directors Order that is in effect until the end of the Governor’s Emergency Order or until December 1, 2020, whichever comes first. This Order prevents water service from being disconnected. It also requires the water company to reconnect everyone whose water service was disconnected for non-payment after January 1, 2020. If your water was disconnected for non-payment since January 1, 2020, contact the water company right away and request reconnection. If you receive a disconnection notice with your bill, contact the water company to clarify the status of your service. If the water company refuses to reconnect the service, or says they will proceed with disconnecting service, contact the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for assistance. Low income residents can apply to Legal Aid anytime online at or call 1.888.817.3777 during most business hours.  

Ohio BMV locations are now open. The deputy registrar is offering the Ohio BMV’s Get In Line, Online program that was launched by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted as a pilot project last year. This program will allow people to "get in line" before showing up to the BMV. Additionally, check the BMV website for a list of services that can be accomplished online.  

Innovate Ohio has compiled a list of public hotspot locations that Ohioans can use in areas where they may not otherwise have access. For a list of Ohio wi-fi hotspot locations, click here.

National Updates:

Help ensure Social Security beneficiaries receive their full Economic Impact Payment. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security will receive an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) of up to $1,200 under the COVID-19 economic relief legislation. (Click here for more info on EIPs.) But, beneficiaries who have a representative payee may not get their money directly. The IRS began issuing these payments in late May and is sending paper checks to representative payees on behalf of their beneficiaries. This money belongs to the beneficiary, not the payee. It is not the same as benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the payee should release the entire payment to the beneficiary unless the beneficiary specifically consents to the payee’s assistance in managing this payment. The rep payee may not charge any additional fees. Any Social Security or SSI beneficiary who suspects their payee has not released all of their EIP payment, or is charging an additional fee, should contact Legal Aid for assistance. Beneficiaries can apply to Legal Aid anytime online at or call 1.888.817.3777 during most business hours. A person may also report the representative payee to the SSA. Even though the SSA does not have authority to investigate the EIP, the SSA may investigate the payee for possible misuse of Social Security benefits if they receive a report that the payee did not use the EIP on behalf of the beneficiary or turn over the EIP to the beneficiary.  

During COVID-19 it is important to be able to access your credit report. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are now offering free weekly online credit reports through April 2021.Visit for more information. 

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