Florida Food Assistance Program Benefits
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), called food assistance in Florida and formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food benefits, access to a healthy diet, and education on food preparation and nutrition to low-income households. Recipients spend their benefits (provided on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card) to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores.
SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works with state agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. SNAP is the federal name for the program. State programs may have different names.
Florida Food Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. SNAP provides nutritional support for low-income seniors, people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other individuals and families with low incomes. SNAP is a federal program administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency (ESS). ESS is responsible for determining eligibility for SNAP using federal guidelines.
Florida Food Assistance Program Benefits
The Florida Food Assistance Program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides eligible low-income individuals and families with funds to purchase food. SNAP benefits are distributed through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which can be used at approved grocery stores and retailers.
To qualify for the program, applicants must meet certain income and resource requirements. The eligibility criteria are based on household size, income level, and other factors. As of my last knowledge update in 2022, the specific eligibility criteria may have changed, so it's important to check the Florida Department of Children and Families website or contact their office directly for the most up-to-date information.
Additionally, the amount of benefits an individual or household receives is determined by factors such as income, expenses, and the number of eligible household members. These benefits can be used to purchase most food items, including bread, fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and other groceries, but they cannot be used for non-food items such as household supplies and personal care products.
It is important to keep in mind that program details and eligibility requirements may change, so it's best to visit the official website of the Florida Department of Children and Families or contact them directly for the most current and accurate information on the Florida Food Assistance Program.
Florida SNAP Benefits
Households can use food assistance benefits to buy breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, and plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat. Households cannot use food assistance benefits to buy nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, vitamins, medicines, food to eat in the store, or hot foods.
For more information on SNAP Benefits, go to Food Assistance Program Factsheet. For Out of State Agencies seeking to verify information with Florida's Department of Children and Families Economic Self Sufficiency Program regarding a client, please send an email to [email protected].
Florida Food Assistance Program Eligibility
SNAP eligibility rules and benefit levels are, for the most part, set at the federal level and uniform across the nation, though states have flexibility to tailor aspects of the program. Individuals must pass all eligibility rules to receive food assistance benefits. Find out more about eligibility rules.
Ineligibility: Individuals are ineligible for SNAP if they:
- are convicted of drug trafficking,
- are running away from a felony warrant,
- purposely break Food Assistance Program rules,
- are noncitizens without a qualified status, or
- are a student who attends an institution of higher education at least half time, in some circumstances.
Who is eligible for Florida Food Assistance Program (SNAP)?
To be eligible for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Florida and meet one of the following requirements:
- You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or
- You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 and share your household with one of the following:
- A person or persons age 60 and over or
- A person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself).
To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, use SNAP eligibility. Because many programs offer services to families that may qualify them under other local criteria, we strongly recommend you contact the program in your community for more information and guidance.Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program
Florida SNAP Income Limits
In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:
|Household Size||Maximum Income Level (Per Year)|
For households with more than eight people, add $10,280 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.
How To Apply For Florida Food Assistance Program Benefits
To apply for the Florida Food Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, you can follow these general steps:
- Check Eligibility: Before applying, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria. Requirements may include income limits, resource limits, and other factors that determine financial need.
- Gather Required Information: Collect the necessary documents and information needed for the application process. This typically includes identification documents, proof of income, and information about household expenses.
- Access the Application: You can apply for SNAP benefits in Florida online through the ACCESS Florida website, or you can visit your local Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) office to apply in person.
- Complete the Application: Provide all the required information accurately and thoroughly. Make sure to include all the necessary documentation to support your application.
- Submit the Application: If applying online, follow the instructions to submit the application electronically. If applying in person, provide the completed application and supporting documents to the DCF office.
- Attend an Interview (if required): Depending on your circumstances and the specifics of your application, you may be asked to attend an interview with a caseworker. This interview is typically conducted to verify the information provided in your application.
- Wait for Approval: After submitting your application, wait for a decision from the Florida Department of Children and Families. They will review your application and determine your eligibility for the program.
- Receive Benefits: If approved, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card and can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retail locations.
It's essential to ensure that all information provided in the application is accurate and up to date. If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process, you can contact the Florida Department of Children and Families for guidance and support.
The SUNCAP Program is a special Food Assistance Program for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You may be eligible to receive food assistance benefits through the SUNCAP Program without any additional application, paperwork, or interviews. If you already receive food assistance benefits in the regular Food Assistance Program, you may be automatically put in the SUNCAP Program when you become SSI eligible. If your food assistance benefits will go down because of SUNCAP, you may choose to continue receiving your food assistance benefits under the regular Food Assistance Program.Florida Medicaid Program Benefits
Online Purchasing Pilot
Did you know as of May 2021, Walmart, Amazon, Aldi, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Freshfields Farm, Hitchcock’s Markets, Publix, Mt. Plymouth IGA and Whole Foods are accepting SNAP payments online? More retailers may join the online purchasing pilot as it progresses. Updates and other important information will be shared with all SNAP benefit recipients as soon as it is available.
Florida SNAP Eligibility
SNAP eligibility rules and benefit levels are, for the most part, set at the federal level and uniform across the nation, though states have flexibility to tailor aspects of the program. Individuals must pass all eligibility rules to receive food assistance benefits. Some of the eligibility rules are:
- Identity - Applicants must provide proof of their identity.
- Work Rules - FAQs - Healthy adults, 18 to 50 years of age, who do not have dependent children or are not pregnant, may receive SNAP benefits for 3 months in a 3-year period if they are not working or participating in a work or work training program.
- Income – Most households must pass a gross income limit less than or equal to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- Deductions – Some household expenses may be subtracted from the total monthly income in the food assistance budget. The budget may subtract for shelter expenses, dependent care, medical expenses, child support paid, utility deductions, and earned income deduction.
- Residency - Individuals must be a resident of Florida.
- Citizenship - Individuals must be a U.S. citizen or have a qualified noncitizen status.
- SSN - Individuals must provide a Social Security Number or proof they have applied for one.
- Child Support Cooperation - Certain individuals must cooperate with the state's child support enforcement agency to prove a child's legal relationship to their parent and to get the court to order child support payments.
- Assets - Most food assistance households may have assets such as vehicles, bank accounts, or property and still get help. Households with a disqualified member must meet an asset limit of $2,500 ($3,750 if the household contains an elderly or disabled member.
- Reporting Changes - Households must report when their total monthly gross income exceeds 130% of the Federal Poverty Level for their household size and when work hours of able bodied adults fall below 80 hours per month. The household must report these changes within 10 days after the end of the month of the change.
Report Stolen SNAP Benefits
If your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits were stolen, you can take action to determine if you are eligible for reimbursement. Individuals who believe their benefits were stolen on or after October 1, 2022, will need to file a claim with the Department. To file a claim, download the claim form below or request one by emailing [email protected]. You have the option to submit the completed form by fax, email, or mail.
Instructions for submission, including fax numbers and mailing addresses, can be found directly on the claim form linked below. Please note that only SNAP benefits stolen on or after October 1, 2022, are eligible for reimbursement. If your SNAP benefit case is closed but the benefits were stolen when your case was open, you may still be eligible for reimbursement.
The Department will review your claim within 10 business days of receipt. If your claim is approved, the stolen benefits will be reimbursed, either the exact amount stolen or the equivalent of two months of SNAP benefits before the theft, whichever is less. Once your claim is validated, the benefits will be available for use on your Electronic Benefit Transfer card the following day.
I believe that I was reimbursed the incorrect amount of SNAP benefits?
If you disagree with the reimbursed amount, you have the right to request a hearing. You can request a bearing by writing, calling the call center, or coming into a storefront within 90 calendar days from the date of the decision notice. For additional information on the appeal process, please visit: https://www.myflfamilies.com/about/additional-services-offices/office-inspector-general/appeal-hearings
Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program Quality Control Process
Thank you for visiting the Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency (ESS) Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Quality Control Webpage. If you received a letter in the mail regarding your SNAP case being reviewed by Quality Control, the questions and answers below will provide you with information regarding the Quality Control process. The SNAP Quality Control Unit performs reviews for households receiving SNAP benefits and measures the program for correct eligibility determinations and payment accuracy (the amount of SNAP benefits approved per household). Data collected by the Quality Control staff is analyzed and used for future program improvements.
Why does Quality Control need to do an interview?
Quality Control rules set by the federal government require an interview. If your monthly SNAP benefits are $100 or less, the interview will be completed over the phone; however, households that receive more than $100 monthly require an in person interview with the Quality Control reviewer.
In person interviews are scheduled at your local SNAP office. If you are unable to attend the scheduled interview, please notify Quality Control as soon as possible to reschedule. If you are unable to attend your interview at the the local office, you may request your interview be conducted at your home. To reschedule your interview or request a home interview, please contact Quality Control at: Phone: (850) 717-4332.
Florida EBT Card Issuance
- First time benefit recipients will be mailed an EBT card with instructions on use.
- If you received benefits in the past 25 months and still have your EBT card, you can still use that card.
- If you are reapplying for benefits and no longer have your EBT card or your card has expired, please contact EBT customer service at 1-888-356-3281 for a replacement. You may call EBT Customer Service at any time. Another EBT card is not automatically mailed to you when your case is approved.
- Your EBT Card will arrive in 5 – 7 business days
- If your card has been cancelled or has expired it cannot be used and will need to be replaced.
How To Check Forida EBT Card Balance
The best way to know your balance(s) is to refer to your last receipt. You may also obtain your balance by logging on to the EBT Cardholder Portal. Or by calling the EBT Customer Service number (1-888-356-3281) on the back of your card. After you enter you sixteen (16) digit EBT card number you will hear your current food assistance or cash account balance(s). You can also check at an ATM or POS machine.
- If your benefits have not been deposited into your account please go to www.myflorida.com/accessflorida.
- Benefits are only deposited once a day, by 6 am
- Unused benefits will rollover each month.
- Accounts without purchases or returns will expire after 274 days.
Adjustments to Your EBT Account
Errors on your EBT account do not happen often, but can occur. If you notice an error in your account, call EBT Customer Service at 1-888-356-3281 to report the problem. You have 90 days from the date of the suspected error to report and file a claim on your account.
If a system error causes you to receive funds to which you were not entitled or causes your account to not be charged for a transaction you did, an adjustment may be completed to reclaim the funds or settle the transaction. If you disagree with the action taken, you may request a fair hearing within 90 days of the date of the adjustment. For information about your hearing rights or to request a fair hearing, please contact your local Department of Children and Families office or call 850-300-4323.