Susan's story

Susan (not her real name) was very happy with her life just a few months ago. She enjoyed her job, she and her husband had a nice home for their son and everything was going pretty well.

They weren’t getting rich and they had some medical concerns and other problems, but overall life was stable and enjoyable.

But then, just before Susan was set to take her paid vacation at work, she learned from her bosses that her job was being eliminated due to budget cuts. She is now out of work and her husband, who has held several jobs in recent years, also does not currently have steady full time work.

Now she and her family have lost their home, Susan and her husband no longer have health insurance and Susan doesn’t know how to pull herself out of this.

“We’re homeless now,” she said, explaining that they are staying with other people until they can find a way to get a home of their own again. She’s thankful for the help, but said it is tough not having their own space.

She also has some serious medical issues and has doctor’s appointments already scheduled. With no insurance, she can’t afford to see the doctor or purchase the medicine she needs. She is hoping to get approved for health insurance through Medicaid and to receive food and cash assistance from the state, but she does not know yet what she and her family will be eligible for.

One thing she is not eligible for, at least so far, is unemployment benefits. Susan is confused about why this is the case and is upset that she is not able to receive these payments.

She’s upset about a lot of things right now, understandably so. She’s trying, though, to get another job, get another home and rebuild her life.  Susan is hoping that the food and cash assistance programs and Medicaid will help her get started.

If she does receive food and cash assistance benefits, though, the benefits will be much lower than the unemployment benefits would have been.  Public assistance benefits do provide support, but do not provide enough to help people meet their basic needs.  The average cash assistance payment per month in Ohio is $375 and the average food assistance benefit is $292 per assistance group per month. Combined, these benefits do not even get a family of three up to 50% of the Federal Poverty Level. Benefit levels need to be increased in Ohio to help families meet their basic needs.

Susan and her husband have both taken part in different educational and job training programs in the past, and they both want to be working and supporting themselves once again. Times are tough, though, and jobs are scarce.

Susan is sad about everything she has lost, but hopeful that she’s at the low point now and that things will get better again soon. She’s been knocked down, but she’s going to get back up and keep going. She just needs a helping hand to get her back on her feet.