Introduction to the Ohio Benefit Bank


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Don't know what the Ohio Benefit Bank is? This powerpoint presentation will give you all the ins & outs of this important organization.

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  • Self-Serve: Ohioans have the option to electronically submit applications for a variety of work support programs by going to They can also file their federal, state, and school district taxes for free at this site.Counselor-Assisted: Ohioans who do not feel comfortable completing applications or tax returns on their own, or who do not have a computer with internet access, can visit one of hundreds of locations across the state with trained OBB counselors.Professional (Pro): Provides trained OBB counselors access to more extensive case management tools, designed for OBB sites and counselors with sustained client interaction.
  • New Counselors attend a benefits or tax training, offered at many convenient locations.Trained benefits counselor can assist clients in applications for existing work support programs. Trained tax counselors can assist clients in completing their federal, state, and school district taxes, absolutely free! The program is question-guided and composed in simple, easy to understand language. The software is the expert!Possible Site Models:A social service agency with paid staff and regular clients might choose to send their case management staff to OBB training as a supplement to the services they already offer. This agency would be open to the public for appointments and complete a high volume of applications. A community organization with limited staff resources might choose to provide OBB services through leveraging volunteers. This organization would use its connections in the community to promote the OBB on a grassroots level.A faith-based organization with only volunteer resources might choose to provide OBB services on a more limited basis. They would designate certain dates and times for appointments.
  • Possible Self-Serve Outreach ModelsIf your site has computers open to the public, consider designating a computer for OBB Self-Serve users. You could also set as the home page on your computers.Our marketing materials are free for you to order and display at your location. You could also distribute Self-Serve information to other partners and across your community.You can even receive reporting with information about how many Self-Serve applications are completed at your location!
  • For agencies with staff that provide more extensive case management services to their clients, the OBB Pro Edition may be a great option for you to enhance your services.OBB Pro combines the traditional, easy-to-use Benefit Bank software with additional case management tools. OBB Pro counselors can access:Additional Management Tools for ApplicationsClient Information for Case Management PurposesSpecialized Intake ModelsOBB Pro counselors are able to work on client applications without the client present, alleviating the burden of lengthy appointments for both clients and counselors. OBB Pro counselors must be authorized representatives for all of their clients.
  • Introduction to the Ohio Benefit Bank

    1. 1. <br /><br />Ohio Association of second harvest Foodbanks<br />Introduction to The Ohio Benefit Bank June 2011<br />
    2. 2. Who We Are<br />The Ohio Benefit Bank is implemented through a public-private partnership between the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, 9 state agencies and 4 federal agencies, and 1,133 faith-based and community organizations across Ohio.<br />2<br />
    3. 3. Ohio’s Unclaimed Funds<br />3<br />Nationally over $67.7 billion Federal dollars provided to help stabilize low-to-moderate income families go unclaimed each year,more than half of which are available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). <br /><ul><li>In Ohio, more than $2.24 billion Federal dollars in tax credits and work support programs go unclaimed by Ohio citizens each year; 57% is unclaimed SNAP funding.
    4. 4. Unclaimed Federal dollars must be returned each year for re-allocation to other states or other Federal programs.
    5. 5. The Ohio Benefit Bank strives to assist Ohioans to access these unclaimed funds which in turn provide revenue for our local Ohio economies.</li></ul>*Sources for unclaimed fund data include: the USDA, the IRS, the Annie E Casey Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Census,, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and<br />
    6. 6. Ohio At a Glance<br />4<br />Over 400,000 Ohioans are eligible for but do not receive Food Assistance.<br />Over 1.82 million people relied on the Food Assistance Program as of March 2011.<br />A recent survey conducted by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio estimated that over 1 million adults and over 100,000 children are currently without health insurance.<br />Read and learn more at <br />The survey also reported that over 150,000 Seniors say they cannot afford their health care costs due to other living expenses and in some cases, must choose between the two.<br />
    7. 7. ASolution<br />The Benefit Bank Online Services are offered free of charge to organizations seeking to better serve the citizens of Ohio.<br />The program is Internet-based, multi-lingual and accessible from any computer with internet access and a printer.<br />The program serves as a tool to stimulate local economies, for income enhancement, application completion, and potential eligibility calculation for over 20 benefits and programs. <br />5<br />
    8. 8. What We Offer<br />A potential eligibility indicator <br />An application completion tool<br />A free income tax assistance program<br />An educational outreach program that helps raise awareness of available tax credits and work support programs<br />6<br />
    9. 9. Programs Supported by The OBB<br />7<br /><br />*e-submission<br />
    10. 10. Electronic Submission and Signature of Benefits Applications<br />8<br />OASHF, ODJFS and The Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives have developed a software bridge from The Benefit Bank to the ODJFS eligibility system. Electronic submission and signature are currently available for Food Assistance and Medicaid applications as well as The Medicare Savings Program.<br />How it Works: <br /><ul><li>Clients electronically sign their applications using their OBB password.
    11. 11. Data is submitted electronically to the Eligibility Gateway.
    12. 12. Data is sent to the relevant County JFS office for review and processing.
    13. 13. JFS caseworkers make all eligibility determinations.</li></li></ul><li>Current Results<br />To Date, The OBB has potentially returned to Ohioans more than $500 Million! This money goes directly to local economies through medical expenditures, food purchases, and a variety of areas through income tax refunds.<br />Currently the OBB has:<br />3,799 trained counselors<br />1,133 sites statewide<br />Assisted over 245,459 individuals within all households served.<br />Results are current as of June 31, 2011.<br />9<br />
    14. 14. OBB’s Potential Impact for One Family<br />Below are the estimated amounts for one adult with 2 children and an earned income of $15,600 a year (gross)*. This represents an individual earning $10 an hour for 30 hours a week. <br /> $ 5,028 in Earned Income Tax Credit<br />$ 4,728per year in potential Food Assistance<br />$ 175 per year in Home Energy Assistance<br />= $9,931 potential income enhancement <br />Adding healthcare such as Healthy Families or Healthy Start would drastically increase this amount. The Estimated Benefits and EITC Credit alone would provide a potential increase in annual income of more than 64%!<br />10<br />*According to the recent statewide Ohio Hunger study by Mathematica Inc., the average annual income for households accessing the emergency food assistance network was $11,590. 75% of households had incomes below the federal poverty level.<br />
    15. 15. 11<br />
    16. 16. Study on the Impact of the Ohio Benefit Bank<br />In 2010, OASHF commissioned a study*, focusing on the impact of the OBB, in particular: <br />the OBB experience<br />who accesses services, and<br />short term impacts.<br />A Study on the Impact of The OBB<br />Ohioans are seeding services.<br />12<br /><ul><li>Many respondents experienced multiple hardships in the past 3 months, including: substantial food needs, unemployment, unstable housing and high stress levels meeting basic needs. </li></ul>82% were seeking help with food assistance. <br />* The study took place in three phases over a six to eight month period of time. It was funded by The Columbus Foundation and designed, conducted and analyzed by Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.<br />
    17. 17. <ul><li>51% of respondents said they would have been unlikely or very unlikely to apply for benefits without OBB.</li></ul>More than 48% of clients participating had completed the application process with CDJFS and an additional 40.5% planned to go within 12 – 35 days of visiting an OBB site.<br />OBB Increases Access to Benefits<br />Follow-Through was High<br />13<br />Study on the Impact of the Ohio Benefit Bank<br />
    18. 18. <ul><li>72% who completed the process reported being approved for benefits.
    19. 19. 80% for Food Assistance.
    20. 20. 30% for Medicaid.
    21. 21. By Phase 2, 55% of respondents who completed the process reported their food situation as much better or better.</li></ul>The OBB experience was positive, helpful and easy to access. <br />83% of OBB client respondents rated their OBB experience as excellent or good.<br />Clients Obtain Needed Benefits<br />Positive Experience!<br />14<br />Study on the Impact of the Ohio Benefit Bank<br />“The Benefit Bank provided a wonderful service. Very convenient and the lady was really respectful and compassionate.”<br />- Ohio Benefit Bank Client -<br />
    22. 22. Benefits Improve Lives<br />15<br />Positive Household Impacts<br />Clients experienced short-term improvements<br />Fewer household hardships were reported at phase 3 of the study:<br />
    23. 23. Benefits Improve Lives<br />16<br />“Food Stamps definitely changed things and helped.”<br />“Before I’d get canned goods from the food pantry that were hard to cobble together into a real meal. Now I can eat decent meals.”<br />“Having benefits just puts it to where you’re not taking money out of what you need to survive. It helps out.”<br />“The benefits make life not so bad. They make the difference between having and not having food, but don’t address the other daily stressors of whether to pay bills or buy gas or to look for work.”<br /> - Shared by OBB study respondents - <br />Despite all of the help received, hardships still persist.<br />…Nearly two-thirds of clients reported having two or more hardships at the end of the survey.<br />
    24. 24. OBB Site Models<br />17<br />
    25. 25. OBB Counselor-Assisted<br />18<br />
    26. 26. Counselor Assisted <br /><ul><li>New Counselors attend a training, offered at many convenient locations.
    27. 27. The trained counselor can assist clients in preparing their application packages for state agencies who administer the work support programs, and also educate them on the application completion process. The application(s) may take 1-2 hours.
    28. 28. The program is question-guided and composed in simple, easy to understand language.
    29. 29. The program serves as the expert and calculates and/or evaluates with each answer you provide. Accurate responses are critical.</li></ul>19<br />
    30. 30. Free Counselor-Assisted Tax Service <br /><ul><li>The OBB trains volunteers on how to help clients file their income tax returns online.
    31. 31. Tax training covers the basics of what is required to complete an income tax return and how to utilize the program as a question-guided tool to screen for various tax credits and to simplify the process of completing a return.
    32. 32. The program offers the option to e-File both state and federal tax returns. </li></ul>The OBB software screens for the credits below, which are often missed otherwise:<br /><ul><li>Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
    33. 33. Child Tax Credit
    34. 34. Additional Child Tax Credit
    35. 35. Child and Dependent Care Credit
    36. 36. Education Credits
    37. 37. State AND Federal Back Taxes</li></ul>20<br />
    38. 38. OBB Self-Serve Site Model<br /><ul><li>Clients use the software on their own vs. one-on-one with an OBB Counselor
    39. 39. Detailed reporting of client use at the site available
    40. 40. Less training needed to become a site</li></ul>21<br />
    41. 41. OBB Pro<br /><ul><li>For agencies with staff that provide more extensive case management services to their clients.
    42. 42. Combines the traditional, easy-to-use Benefit Bank software with additional case management tools.
    43. 43. OBB Pro counselors are able to work on client applications without the client present.
    44. 44. OBB Pro counselors must be authorized representatives for all of their clients.</li></ul>22<br />
    45. 45. Helpful Tools – Quick Check<br />Quick Check<br /><ul><li>Helps to check potential eligibility for various benefits and work support programs.
    46. 46. Is based on the size, income and expenses of the household.
    47. 47. Uses a 5 star rating to indicate how likely a person is to be eligible for the credit or program based on the information provided.
    48. 48. Go to www.ohiobenefits.organd click “Apply Now”. </li></ul>23<br />Household size. Information for each person living in the household is entered. <br />Household income. How much earned and unearned income was there for the tax year?<br />Household expenses. How much is the person’s cost of living? What are their expenses?<br />
    49. 49. Helpful Tools - Benefit Bank Site Locator<br />The Benefit Bank Site Locator provides information for the OBB locations nearby. Click the Benefit Bank Locator link on, enter a zip code and click “Search”. <br />24<br />A map and detail list of OBB sites will be displayed.<br />
    50. 50. The Ohio Benefit Bank Regional Coordinators and Service Areas<br />50 VISTA/AmeriCorps Members are assigned to OBB sites.<br />25<br />
    51. 51. Reaching People Where They Live, Work, Play and Pray<br />The OBB Express travels throughout the state with two OBB Counselors to bring help & hope to low-income Ohioans. <br />To schedule the OBB Express please contact Russell Allen at: 614-221-4336 or Follow the OBB Express blog: The OBB Express is powered by The Columbus Foundation.<br />26<br />The van is equipped with two workstations, can accommodate up to eight laptops, and can also provide satellite internet service within 50 feet of the van anywhere with a view of the southern sky.<br />
    52. 52. How Can I Get Involved?<br />Become an OBB Site <br />Participate in a Pre-Training Orientation, sign an Organization Agreement and have staff or volunteers trained.<br />Complete Benefits and/or Tax Training<br />Training consists of 2 parts: <br />Online training at your own pace (max 1.5 hrs) and <br />In-person training (about 3 hours) offered regionally <br />Become a Volunteer<br />If you don’t currently have a site to work with, we can set you up with a site that could use your help by calling the OBB Hotline at 1.800.648.1176.<br />27<br />
    53. 53. How Can I Get Involved?<br />Spread the word about The Ohio Benefit Bank<br />You can help us to gain more volunteers and sites while helping people with critical needs to connect with help and hope<br />Connect clients with The Ohio Benefit Bank Self-Serve <br />Take advantage of our free marketing even if you are not an OBB site by calling the OBB hotline at 1-800-648-1176<br />28<br />
    54. 54. OBB Self-Serve <br />29<br />Ohioans have the option to complete applications for a variety of work support programs by going to <br />
    55. 55. OBB’s Free Tax Self-Serve<br />Anyone in Ohio with a household income of $60,000 or less can self-file their income taxes for free! <br />30<br />Visit<br />Click “Available Programs.<br />Click “File Your Federal and State Application”.<br />Students can also complete the FAFSA.<br />
    56. 56. Questions? Thank you very much!<br />31<br />Jason Elchert<br />Deputy Director <br /><br />614-221-4336 ext. 224<br />Maryjo Mace Woodburn<br />Director of Work Support Initiatives<br /><br />614-221-4336 ext. 268<br />General Information: 614-221-4336<br />OBB Hotline: 1-800-648-1176<br /><br /> <br />