Welcome to The Legal Aid Society of Columbus
Get help online!
Our Access to Justice (A2J) online application is an interactive interview that will walk you step by step through our intake process. This easy to follow question and answer session will help us better understand your problem so we can give you a more accurate response to your needs. It also saves our intake workers time and allows us to help more people. Our A2J system has been operational for three years and in that time it has enabled us to promptly process over 8000 applications! Rest assured that your data is safe and will not be shared with anyone.
Click here or click on the picture to the right to try A2J today.
Haga clic aquí para completar la solicitud en español.Tax intake for clients of free tax preparation sites click here.
Important Information for People with Disabilities on Medicaid: Shed Your Spend Down?
For many people with disabilities on Medicaid, the word "spend down" brings on a headache. ("Spend down" is the monthly amount you have to pay or spend on medical care before your Medicaid kicks in). But the recent Medicaid expansion offers relief to many people on spend down.
If you currently have Medicaid with a monthly spend down, a change in the rules may now allow you to get Medicaid benefits without that spend down. On January 1, 2014, Ohio expanded Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level ($1,294 for a household of one) for low-income Ohioans regardless of whether individuals have children or are disabled. If you are under 65 and not currently eligible for Medicare, you may be able to switch to this new category of Medicaid and avoid having to pay a monthly spend down. The benefits package for the expansion category of Medicaid is just as generous and utilizes the same managed care plans.
But, this change doesn't happen automatically -- although advocates sought an automatic transition of individuals from the spend down program to the expansion category of Medicaid. You need to apply separately. You can apply online at http://benefits.ohio.gov/. Currently, there is a box that asks if you are disabled. That is just a screening tool, and you should check "no" so that you can apply for the expansion category. Advocates are working on having the screening tool changed. You can also apply online by calling 1-800-324-8680 or by contacting your local County Department of Job and Family Services. In both of those instances you should specifically state that you want to apply for Medicaid coverage under "the expansion category" or "Group 8." If you are denied coverage, or if your application is not processed within 30 days, please contact our intake help line at 614-241-2001.
$3,000 AT&T Donation to Support the LASC Volunteer Resource Center
On Tuesday, November 26, Mary Kay Fenlon, AT&T General Attorney, presented a donation from AT&T to support pro bono efforts at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. Mary Kay has been with AT&T for 14 years. She began her career with the Public Utilities Council of Ohio as a hearing officer. She was with Porter Wright for 3 years representing utility companies before joining AT&T as a litigator. AT&T encourages the pro bono efforts of its attorneys across the country. Mary Kay is a volunteer in the LASC Volunteer Resource Center. The focus of her volunteer work is foreclosure prevention.
Photo: left to right – Mary Kay Fenlon, John P. Gilligan, LASC Board Chair and Thomas W. Weeks, Ohio State Legal Services Executive Director
Pro Bono Wills Clinic Project Reaches Milestone
One of the pro bono programs that Legal Aid undergirds is the Wills Clinic project, a collaborative effort with the Pro Bono Committee of the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio ("PACO"). In May 2010, this program was launched an effort to provide pro bono legal services in the Columbus and Central Ohio area. What started out as an idea has evolved into a successful outreach to senior citizens that has served literally hundreds of individuals. In October, the group reached a milestone by conducting its 50th Wills Clinic.
The Wills Clinic program is unique in many ways. It is a traveling clinic, assembling volunteers at different locations and providing documents such as Simple Wills and Financial POAs, along with advance directive documents (Living Wills, Health Care POAs, and Organ Donor designations) to low-income residents at senior citizen housing facilities where they live.
Understanding The Affordable Care Act
Are you currently uninsured?
If so, you may be eligible to enroll in Medicaid or obtain private subsidized insurance through the Marketplace. Enrollment begins on October 1, 2013 and coverage starts January 1, 2014.
Medicaid will now cover individuals up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $15,856.20 a year for a household of one. You no longer need to be a child, parent, senior or a person with a disability to qualify. You can apply online at http://benefits.ohio.gov/ or call 1-800-324-8680. You may also contact your local County Department of Job and Family Services.
If your income is above 138% but below 400% of the Federal Poverty level, which is $45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four, you will be eligible for coverage through the Marketplace with subsidies to help you with premiums. In addition, individuals with lower incomes will also be eligible for cost sharing assistance to help with out of pocket costs. You can enroll online at www.healthcare.gov or by telephone at 1-800-318-2596. You can also get assistance with your application by contacting a navigator through the Ohio Benefits Bank at (800) 648-1176 or you can find the closest Certified Application Counselor to you by searching by zip code at www.healthcare.gov.
If you have any questions, please let us know and one of our public benefits team staff will be happy to speak with you.