DebtHammer's free guide to debt relief details several options for Ohio residents, including hardship programs, consolidation and other financial resources.

Debt Relief in Ohio

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As of July 2022, an estimated 11,756,058 people called Ohio their home. The average Kentucky resident makes $53,170 a year (mean wage) and owes about $41,740 in consumer debt (not including mortgages). Just over 13% of Ohio residents live in poverty — this makes Ohio the 36th highest in terms of its poverty rate.

If you’re an Ohioan who needs debt relief or assistance for everyday expenses, here’s what you need to know to get started.

Are you eligible for debt relief?

If you’re an Ohio resident, DebtHammer may be able to help.

Ohio debt statistics

These debt-related statistics provide an overview of what many Ohio residents are facing:

  • Average household debt (debt per capita): $41,740
  • Average student loan debt: $34,721
  • Average credit score: 715
  • Median mortgage payment: $1,269
  • Bankruptcies in 2021: 20,818
  • Personal income/Annual mean wage: $53,170
  • Child poverty: 18.0%
  • Unemployment: 4.2%

Debt relief options for Ohio residents

Struggling to find the debt relief in Ohio that you need? Here are some options.

  • Debt consolidation loans: With a debt consolidation loan, you can combine multiple smaller debts into one bigger loan with a fixed monthly payment and (potentially) lower interest rate. This could make it easier to manage and pay off your debts.
  • Debt settlement: Usually done through a debt settlement agency, this is the process of negotiating with your creditors to reduce how much you owe.
  • DIY plan: This is similar to debt settlement, but you usually do the entire process yourself. With a DIY plan, you could potentially reduce what you owe, waive late and other fees, change your payment date, or lower interest rates.
  • Debt Management Plans (DMPs): Typically done through a nonprofit credit counseling agency, DMPs are three- to five-year plans that help you pay off your debts. DMPs could also help you lower interest rates, set up a repayment plan that works for you, or waive certain fees.
  • Bankruptcy: Personal bankruptcy is a last resort, but it could get you a fresh start if you’ve exhausted all other options. Depending on your circumstances, you could file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney before filing to discuss your options.

Debt settlement in Ohio

Debt settlement is a common form of debt relief in Ohio, but it isn’t a guarantee. Because of this, it’s best to weigh your options before going this route.

You may want to consider debt settlement if:

  • You’re drowning in debt
  • You can’t keep up with regular expenses or bills
  • And/or you’re using expensive forms of credit like payday loans or credit cards
  • You’re on the verge of bankruptcy

A debt settlement plan could help you pay off different unsecured debts, including:

  • Personal loans
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Credit cards
  • Department store cards
  • Student loans in default
  • Old judgments
  • Other unsecured consumer debts

Debt settlement usually takes between two and four years to complete. If you go through an agency, someone from that agency will work with your creditors to try to reduce your debt amount. This is called “settling” your debts.

While they do this, you’ll need to start making monthly payments into a secured account. Once a debt is settled, the agency will use this money to pay off the remaining balance.

Your creditors aren’t required to settle your debts. To increase your odds of success, the agency might suggest you stop making payments on the accounts you’re trying to settle. This could lead to late fees or affect your credit score.

When successful, debt settlement could reduce your debts by 50% or more — after considering agency and other fees. This could make it easier to pay off any remaining debts in a more timely manner. It could also prevent you from having to file for bankruptcy.

If you’re considering debt settlement, speak with a reputable debt settlement agency. Check out sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see what other people are saying about the agency. Also, choose an agency that’s accredited by the American Association for Debt Resolution (AADR) or a similar agency.

Ohio debt settlement companies

Here are some reputable Ohio debt settlement and credit counseling companies to consider:

  • DebtHelp, Inc.: 1103 Schrock Road, 106 Columbus, OH 43229; (888) 254-4516
  • Trinity Credit Counseling, Inc.: 11229 Reading Rd Cincinnati, OH 45241; (800) 793-9049
  • Apprisen: 12200 Fairhill Rd, Cleveland, OH 44120 or 700 Taylor Rd. Suite 190 Gahanna, Ohio 43230; (800) 355-2227

Debt settlement attorneys

If you’re not sure if debt settlement is right for you, consult an experienced attorney in your area. Here are a few to check out:

State hardship programs

Along with Ohio debt relief resources, the state also has several state-specific programs designed to help residents facing hardship. These include:

  • Ohio Home Relief Grant: This program offers Ohio residents utility bill and rent payment assistance. Check your eligibility and apply online or through a Community Action Agency.
  • Single Family Housing Repair and Grants Program: The Section 504 Home Repair program provides loans to qualifying, low-income residents who need to modernize their homes or remove safety hazards.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: Ohio has many programs that can help with utility bills, such as the Home Energy Assistance Program. If eligible, you could reduce your heating and cooling costs significantly.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Ohio’s version of Chip is known as Ohio Healthy Start. This program provides affordable health insurance to children of low-income families.
  • SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: The Ohio Benefits website lists many different resources for residents who need assistance. SNAP, for example, can help residents facing hunger through cash assistance.
  • Ohio Combined Application Projects: CAPs help low-income seniors and people with special needs get better access to food benefits like SNAP. It’s a joint application process that’s meant to make the application process easier.
  • Ohio WIC: The Women, Infants & Children program helps supplement the cost of food and nutrition for low-income pregnant or breastfeeding women. It also offers education on breastfeeding and nutrition. Women with children under the age of 5 years old may also qualify.
  • Women’s Health Program: This program is designed to help improve women’s health in Ohio. it also advocates for women’s health-related concerns in the state.
  • Organization for Refugees & Immigrants: The Refugee Program Services helps refugees, asylees, and immigrants in Ohio through cash and medical assistance. It also helps refugees with English learning, childcare, employment, and more.

Debt resources for Ohio residents facing hardship 

When it comes to debt relief resources in Ohio, residents have many options. Some of the more state-specific programs can help people who are struggling with things like mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, healthcare costs, and childcare assistance.

But there are also food and nutrition programs. In fact, Ohio has 12 major food banks located throughout the state. Around 1,351,090 Ohioans (one in nine people) are facing hunger — 412,670 of whom are children.

Food banks and pantries can help people struggling with food insecurity or the cost of groceries by providing healthy food. Here’s a list of the main food banks located in Ohio:

Debt collection laws in Ohio

Residents of Ohio are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FDCPA is a federal law that regulates debt collection throughout the country. Among other things, the FDCPA prevents third-party debt collectors from:

  • Trying to collect debts they don’t own or that do not exist
  • Attempting to collect more money than what was originally owed, or is outlined in the debt contract
  • Using unfair tactics, deception, manipulation, abusive language, or threats to try to get money
  • Pretend to be someone they aren’t, such as a legal or government official
  • Frequently contact the person who owes the money, especially if it’s outside of regular business hours and they don’t have prior consent
  • Threaten that the borrower will face jail time, wage garnishment, or other legal repercussions (unless they’re filing a lawsuit)

The Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act works with the FDCPA to protect residents from deceptive, abusive, misleading, and unfair debt collection practices. This Act exists to help consumers keep aware of the rules debt collection agencies must follow, as well as their rights as individuals.

For example:

  • A debt collector must send a letter within five days of contacting you via phone. This letter must include the debt you owe, how much you owe, the original creditor, and your option to dispute it.
  • Upon being contacted by the debt collector, you have 30 days to send a letter verifying the debt. If the debt is not yours, you can then dispute it.
  • Whether you owe the debt or not, you can send a written request telling the debt collectors not to contact you again. If you do owe, you will still be responsible for payment.

There’s also an Ohio consumer advocate newsletter that gets published six times a year and details debt collection laws and the different consumer protections. The most recent newsletter was released in February 2023.

Income and employment in Ohio

As of December 2022, the unemployment rate in Ohio was 4.20%. This is higher than the national average unemployment rate of 3.5%. However, it’s also a marked decrease from April 2020 when it was 16.40%. Ohio ranks 39th in terms of job creation with 99,300 new jobs.

Ohio is not a right-to-work state. But it is an employment-at-will state. This means any employer can terminate an employee with or without cause or notice. The only exception to this is if the job contract states otherwise or if the reason is found to be illegal.

How to apply for unemployment benefits in Ohio

If eligible, you can apply for unemployment benefits by going to the Department of Job and Family Services site and filing a claim. Click “I am an Unemployed Worker” to start the process. Then, select “Apply for Unemployment Insurance.” Or, if you want to monitor existing claims or learn more, click “Log In to My Unemployment Insurance Account.” If you do not already have an account, you’ll need to set one up first.

You can also go to the site’s Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more about the process. This page provides details about who is eligible for benefits, which documents you’ll need, and other important information. Common information you’ll need includes:

  • Driver’s license or a state ID number
  • Contact information
  • Address
  • Recent employer/income information
  • SSN

After applying for benefits, you’ll need to wait for your claim to be processed. Claims are processed in the order in which they’re received, so file as soon as possible. While waiting, you’ll also need to submit weekly unemployment claims to receive payments.

If you’d prefer to file via phone, call the office at (877) 644-6562.

Banking and taxes in Ohio

Ohio’s state income tax is based on a tiered system. For individuals, it’s:

  • $0 to $26,050 = No tax
  • $26,051 to $46,100 = $360.69 + 2.765% of anything over $26,050
  • $46,100 to $92,150 = $915.07 + 3.226% of anything over $46,100
  • $92,150 to $115,300 = $2,400.64 + 3.688% of anything over $92,150
  • Above $115,300 = $3,254.41+ 3.990% of anything over $115,300

An estimated 3.5% of Ohioans are unbanked. This means they don’t have a checking or savings account. People who are unbanked are more likely to use expensive forms of credit like cash advances or payday loans.

Ohio housing market

About 66.4% of Ohioans own their own home. In the state, the average home value is $201,688 — a 9.8% increase from the past year. The average home value in the country is $328,745.

The median mortgage payment in Ohio is $1,293. This is slightly higher than the median rent payment in the state, which is $1,162.

Ohio homeowners who need financial assistance may be eligible for the Ohio Homeowners Assistance Fund. This resource connects homeowners with different statewide, regional, and local programs that can help with things like mortgage payments and down payment assistance. Programs include the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and community-based programs like Communities First.

Retirement in Ohio

According to GOBankingRates, the average Ohioan needs $600,504 to retire comfortably. But, according to SoFi, the average retirement savings in Ohio is around $427,462.

Average Ohio insurance premiums

Full coverage car insurance in Ohio averages out to be $1,200 a year. This is about $500 lower than the national average.

Ohioans spend approximately $1,119 a year on their homeowner insurance premium for $250,000 dwelling coverage. This is lower than the U.S. average.

Payday lending status in Ohio: Legal

Payday lending is legal in Ohio. That said, payday lenders must still adhere to certain regulations for their loans. The typical payday loan in the state looks like this:

  • Maximum loan amount: $1,000
  • Maximum Interest Rate (APR): 28%
  • Minimum loan term: 91 days
  • Maximum loan term: 12 months

Statute of limitations on debt in Ohio

The statute of limitations on debt varies by state and debt type. In Ohio, it’s six years on most types of debts. 

  • Medical debt: 6 years
  • Credit card: 6 years
  • Auto loan debt: 4 years
  • Student loan debt: 6 years
  • State tax debt: 7 years

Help for Veterans

Ohio is home to 2,540,706 Veterans and has 46 VA facilities. The Ohio Department of Veteran Affairs strives to help Veterans facing homelessness, unemployment, and other financial hardships. It does this through job-related education and resources, healthcare assistance, and other local and government subsidies. 

Facilities in Ohio

If you need a VA facility in Ohio, here are a few of the main ones:

  • Chillicothe VA Medical Center: 17273 State Route 104 Chillicothe, OH 45601-9718; (740) 773-1141
  • Cincinnati VA Medical Center: 3200 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45220-2213; (513) 861-3100
  • Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: 10701 East Boulevard Cleveland, OH 44106-1702; (216) 791-3800
  • Colombus, OH Vet Center: 855 Bethel Road Columbus, OH 43212; (614) 257-5550
  • Cleveland Vet Center: 24197 Broadway Avenue Oakwood Village, OH 44146; (216) 707-7901
  • Toledo Vet Center: 1565 South Byrne Road Suite 104 Toledo, OH 43614; (419) 213-7533
  • National Cemetery Administration (Dayton): 4400 West Third Street Dayton, OH 45428; (937) 268-2221

Employment resources for Veterans

The Ohio Veterans’ Employment and Career Transition Advisor can help Veterans transition into civilian life and find a career suited to them. The state also helps Veterans find state government jobs, file for unemployment benefits, and find any job-related training they might need.

Besides these resources, here are some state and national job-related resources for Veterans:

  • CareerOneStop offers job-related advice and resources, as well as a job search portal.
  • helps Veterans and qualifying spouses find civilian work.
  • has virtual career fairs for Vets and other military personnel.
  • Helmets to Hardhats works with Veterans to help them find construction work.
  • Hiring Our Heroes also offers networking opportunities and job-related resources for Vets.
  • My Next Move connects Veterans with employers in the civilian industry.
  • Warriors to Work helps Veterans find work, as well as helps them prepare for interviews.

The bottom line

Ohio debt relief comes in many forms, ranging from debt settlement plans to debt consolidation to nonprofit credit counseling. The state also has many state-specific and national resources for residents experiencing homelessness, unemployment, or other hardships. If you or someone you know needs help in Ohio, reach out to one of these organizations. 


How long can a debt be collected in Ohio?

In most cases, a debt is considered “collectible” for six years in Ohio. There are some exceptions to this, however. For example, state tax debts are collectible for up to seven years after any penalties, interest, or other charges are issued. It can still be collected for up to four more years after these charges are finalized.

When does the statute of limitations begin in Ohio?

The statute of limitations in Ohio starts on the date when you made your last payment or when the account became past due — whichever happened most recently.

Am I responsible for my spouse’s debt if I get divorced in Ohio?

Typically, you’ll only be responsible for paying any debts that are in your name or that you accrued during the marriage. If your spouse has a debt under their name from before the marriage, it is generally their responsibility.

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