What do to after losing job in Ohio: health care, unemployement, etc..
April 15, 2014 1:17 PM   Subscribe

A good friend has been fired from her low paid private school job in the Cleveland Ohio area and is looking for advice on what she needs to do in the short term. She works in a somewhat hard to find work in field (music therapy for children) She's in her mid 40s and is single, no dependents. Her health insurance will run out at the end of this month. Her salary is perhaps 30k, maybe lower. She has no savings but family in the area who will likely help w/ rent, etc.. but they are limited as well in what they can do financially to help her as they are retired on a fixed income. What are concrete steps she should take in order to make sure she has: health care (medicaid? ACA exchange insurance since she had a qualified life event?) unemployment insurance (what separation reason should she ask for for her employer NOT to fight this?) food stamps (if they exist any more for single people) links to possible sources of jobs in her field Anything else? Thanks!
posted by bottlebrushtree to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Was she fired for cause, or laid off? If laid off, you take your termination letter directly to unemployment and file the same day you get laid off. It takes a week or two for unemployment to kick in.

Fired, if what she did was egregious, she may not be able to collect unemployment. Fired is VERY different from laid off.

Were I her, I'd sign up for substitute teaching classes in any school district or private school within a 30 mile radius of her house.

She can't be picky right now, music therapy is nice, but there's not a lot of call for it. She might be able to get a few gigs here and there, market herself out as entertainment at kids parties, etc. But if she has a teaching credential, then she can sub to keep money coming in (and possibly be eligible for group health care.)

She can also go to the ACA marketplace and sign up for a plan there. Job loss is a qualifying event for changing providers mid-year.

Your friend can also change careers. Look into training programs, education, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:24 PM on April 15, 2014

She can check her eligibility for food stamps (and other benefits) here. Food stamp eligibility is based solely on income.

Yes, she should file for unemployment. She should also sign up with a temp agency, and she should also see if she's qualified to work as a substitute teacher in the public school system.
posted by rtha at 1:27 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Fired for cause, but they may be willing to lay her off. Any wording people would suggest to ask for?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 1:35 PM on April 15, 2014

If she can get them to say they've eliminated her position, then that would mean that she was laid off and eligible for unemployment. They may not want to though, and if she was fired for cause, she can file for unemployment, and she can appeal, there's a decent chance of her being awarded if she was fired without due process, or if there was something hinky about it.

She's not in a very good position here. She's at the mercy of what that termination letter says, insofar as unemployment is concerned.

She needs a plan B, like bartending or something else.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:39 PM on April 15, 2014

Can she freelance as a music therapist? She could reach out to agencies that serve people within her specialty area (children, people with disabilities, trauma victims, etc.) and see if they are interested in having her do a music therapy series with them. We have someone who does this for us and we pay him a pretty high hourly rate.
posted by chaiminda at 2:19 PM on April 15, 2014

This is a tough situation because there isn't a ton of work for freelancers, especially if it gets out she was justifiably fired. My experiences in special ed have taught me it always gets out. She should definitely approach parents, autism centers, schools, etc to send out feelers but she needs to have a fall back plan.

Can she give music lessons? If she found some clients for music therapy she could supplement it with more general instruction. I'm an assistant in a special needs class - I make even less but it could keep her in the field while she figures out her next steps. Some of the private programs pay more.

There are always jobs in childcare - again not ideal but it's better than doing something completely unrelated.

The one thing I will say is This is all assuming she didn't do something that would negatively impact her ability to work with children again. Obviously being fired period is going to be an issue for references, and working in the same environment again.
posted by Aranquis at 2:40 PM on April 15, 2014

Losing a job, regardless of reason, is a qualifying life event that will allow her to sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov even though the general open enrollment period is closed.
posted by rockindata at 6:03 PM on April 15, 2014

On the Ohio Dept of Jobs & Family Services website rtha linked above, I found this pdf:

Program Enrollment & Benefit Information

From a quick skim it looks like assistance programs are administered at the county level, she'll probably have to go in for a personal interview to be approved for assistance, and they might very well want some proof of income & expenses along with proof of identity & citizenship, so she should try to gather together whatever paperwork she can of recent utility bills, rent receipts, other expenses, current valid driver's license, birth certificate, social security card, bank statements, etc etc etc.

Another route for food & meal assistance is the Greater Cleveland Food Bank:

Help Center

SNAP Program (a.k.a. food stamps)
posted by soundguy99 at 6:05 PM on April 15, 2014

I was able to apply for medicaid online. It took them nearly 3 months to let me know I was approval. But I didn't have to go in.
posted by kathrynm at 6:13 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by girlmightlive at 7:13 PM on April 15, 2014

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