Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Your Money Managing You?

Many of us are looking for ways to get the most out of our money. Others are struggling with debt, bad credit, or high interest payments on credit cards and loans. Here are a few opportunities to get free help and learn more about financial fitness.

The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs is offering two upcoming Surviving the Economy Clinics (April 12th and May 12th) where you can meet with representatives from local agencies and lenders regarding help with mortgage payments, loan modifications, legal assistance, unemployment, food and medical benefits, and more. Call Christine Gilley at (330) 643-2879 for details.

Community Legal Aid is presenting free Financial Information & Legal Education workshops this Spring, where participants receive information on credit repair, identity theft, taxes, bankruptcy, and other matters. Call Maggie at (330) 983-2609 for dates, times, and locations.

The Akron area’s Consumer Credit Counseling Service (aka Apprisen Financial Advocates) offers a free comprehensive money management consultation, as well as a debt management program, housing counseling and foreclosure intervention, and bankruptcy counseling and education. They can help you assess your current situation and develop an action plan to get you back on your feet financially.

Greenleaf Family Center’s Financial Services for Families program offers free classes on budgeting, banking, and credit, as well as pre-bankruptcy counseling and some financial assistance programs for buying and repairing automobiles. For more information on these and other services, call Bob Sukel at (330) 376-9494.

The FDIC has a helpful website with information on topics such as loans, mortgages, banking, identity theft, and fraud. They also have a free financial education program called Money Smart -- consumers can order a free self study CD, access the study modules online, or download podcasts. In addition to the curriculum for adults, Money Smart offers a program for young adults who are just learning how to manage their finances. Early education programs such as this can help young adults avoid costly mistakes and get them off to a good start in making the best use of their resources.

Are you a single mother struggling to make ends meet? Another great internet resource is This site provides information and resources especially for single moms on housing, food, educational grants for college, and tips for making the most of every dollar.

Don’t forget to order your free annual credit report and make sure it doesn’t contain errors that could cost you money in higher interest rates when you apply for home, car, or other loans. You can order your report online at, by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Finally, the State Library of Ohio’s Find Help in Tough Times website offers good information on a variety of money-related topics.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SSI/SSDI Application Assistance

Need help applying for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance?

The SSI Ohio Project, administered by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), helps individuals 18 and older who are dealing with homelessness and/or mental health issues apply for SSI and SSDI and other benefits.

For assistance in the Akron area, contact:

Community Support Services Inc.
Specialist: Twanette Pinkerton
150 Cross Street
Akron, Ohio 44311
By appointment only

To find other specialists in Ohio, click here and check the SSI/SSDI box on the upper right.

Another good resource in our area for help with disability information and assistance is the Tri-County Independent Living Center in Akron.  Tri-County provides information on disability benefits, housing modifications, durable medical equipment, and many other pertinent programs and services.  Call 330-762-0007.

It is common to be denied the first time you apply for SSI/SSDI.  You must file a written appeal within the time limit specified (typically 60 days from the date you receive their letter) in order to receive further consideration.  If you need assistance filing an appeal and cannot afford an attorney, contact Community Legal Aid.  The attorneys at Legal Aid are very knowlegeable about SSI/SSDI appeals, and can help you navigate the sometimes complex appeals process. 

To read more about the appeals process, click here.

Military service members can sometimes receive additional assistance through the Wounded Warriors Program, including expedited processing of claims.  These benefits are different from those offered by the Department of Veterans Affiars.  A separate application should be filed with Social Security.  For help with these and other claims, contact the Summit County Veterans Service Commission.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Summit County Surviving the Economy Clinic

Are you struggling to make ends meet?
Worried about making mortgage payments or losing your home?

Here's a great opportunity to meet with lenders and visit booths to get free advice, resources, and help on foreclosures, debts, unemployment, and much more from the following agencies:

Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
Community Legal Aid
Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Mustard Seed
Summit County Executive Job & Family Services
Dept of Community & Economic Development
Summit County Council
Federal Trade Commission
Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs
... and many others

Also attending will be mortgage lenders/servicers from CHASE and GMAC Mortgage.

Thursday, March 10, 2011
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Walk in; no appointment necessary.

The Job Center Building
1040 E Tallmadge Ave

For more information, contact:
Christine Gilley, Consumer Affairs Outreach Specialist

County of Summit Office of Consumer Affairs
175 South Main St, Suite 209, Akron, OH 44308
(330) 643-2879