Community Spotlight: Legal Aid Society- Public Benefits and Reentry

This week’s episode of Community Spotlight continues our highlight on the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. In this episode, host Leah Haslage sat down with Russell Hauser and Jennifer Kinsley from Legal Aid Society to discuss public benefits and reentry.

Medicare Vs. Medicaid

With so much red tape to cut through when applying for benefits, it’s easy to assume that Medicare and Medicaid are different ways of describing the same benefits, when this is actually far from true.
Medicare and Medicaid both have their own unique eligibility requirements.
Medicaid eligibility is based primarily on income, resources, and family size.
Medicare eligibility is based primarily on age and work history.
Medicaid, you must meet an income less than 138% of the federal poverty level, while also having less than $2000 in available resources (this includes bank account, savings account, checking account, stocks, bonds, and some insurance plans.)
Medicare on the other hand has no income requirements, but it does require the recipient be over the age of 65 or have a severe disability.

Medicare Programs

Through Medicare there are 4 different parts that serve different purposes.

Medicare Part A:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Nursing facility care
  • Hospice care (in certain situations)

Medicare Part B:

  • Outpatient Cares
  • Medical durable equipment
  • Ambulance services

Medicare Part C: (Advantage Plans)

  • Private insurance companies manage Medicaid for you
  • Advantages and drawbacks
  • Review your options

Medicare Part D:

  • Prescription Drugs
  • Help with Medications

Alternative Assistance Options

For non-medical related needs, there are a number of state and federal programs available.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (Food Stamps)
-Provides monetary assistance to purchase nutritious food via a state issued debit card
-Cannot be used to buy household items or cleaners.

Ohio Works First
-Provides monetary assistance to needy families.
-Available for only a limited period of time, extensions available.

PRC (Prevention, Retention, and Contingency)
-Provides monetary assistance in case of emergencies.


For those who benefit from any form of Medicaid, Social Security, etc., if convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison for more than 30 days, their benefits will be revoked. Those who have lost their benefits can then reapply 30 days before their release. It’s important to note that while a sentence may have been served, any outstanding warrants will prevent any eligibility.


For more information on any of the programs discussed today, you can go to their corresponding website’s down below.

Social Security Administration



Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

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