Terry* works in a small labor shop and lives in East Canton. He is tall, slender, balding, wearing a baseball cap, early 50’s, and Terry needs cash.
He had been off work for some time because of medical conditions and hospitalization, plus was in the process of a divorce and moving into a small apartment with rent of $465 per month.
When Terry moved from his house to the new apartment, his van was re-possessed and he lost many necessary-to-life items: his work tools & boots, social security card, birth certificate, past years tax returns and hearing aids.
He earns $10 an hour, works 40 hours a week and has insurance but it is $150 a month with a very high deductible.
Terry’s boss replaced his tools so he can still work but also deducts $35 bi-weekly from his wages to repay the cost of the equipment.
He learns about financial help available through United Way of Greater Stark County‘s Financial Prosperity Center (FPC), located at OhioMeansJobs and visits to see what they can do to help. Terry sits down with an Intake Specialist, who assesses his financial needs and special requirements. After the intake is complete, a plan is put together and short-term goals are set.
Part of the plan includes creation of a budget for Terry. After she discovered how much debt he was in, the intake specialist called and scheduled an appointment at Apprisen Financial Advocates Office the same day. Within 30 days, Terry consolidated his bills and removed some of his medical bills. Now the amount left to pay was much less and more manageable because it was set-up on a very low payment plan.
The intake specialist advised Terry to research a higher paying job. With OhioMeansJob, in the same building, he had the resources on-hand to create a new resume plus look for a new job. However, even though Terry knows he needs to earn more money he does not want to leave his job because his boss assisted him when he was ill and is still repaying him for the tools.
The intake specialist assisted with the completion of the other goals in the plan. She called and made an appointment for him at Ohioans with Disabilities. He was eligible for free hearing aids because he was working and had a medical condition. She researched SNAP to see if Terry was eligible for food stamps. He was eligible for $19 a month in food stamps, so the application was completed and sent in for fulfillment. In addition, she gave him a list of food pantries in the area in case he runs short of food, scheduled an appointment at Catholic Charities to help pay for a new ID, then gave him directions on how to replace his Social Security card.
Terry now has hearing aids, an Ohio driver’s license and state ID and ordered his Social Security Card. He is consolidated all his bills and reduced his medical bills due to his income level. His SNAP was approved and he is using local pantries, especially the locations that offer fresh vegetable and fruits.
He is scheduled for a follow-up at the FPC to discuss other options for earning additional money.
*Name changed to honor anonymity
(Terry’s story was featured in the Canton Repository wrap on September 7, 2018 – United Way of Greater Stark County’s fundraising campaign launch.