How To Apply For Food Stamps In Florida

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program that offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. The program is run by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you live in this state and need to apply for a Florida Benefit Security Card, then the information below shows you how to apply for food stamps in Florida. If you have additional questions or concerns about the Florida SNAP program or the EBT application process, please contact the Florida Department of Children and Families for assistance.

The Food Assistance Program helps people with low-income buy healthy food. A food assistance household is normally a group of people who live together and buy food and cook meals together. If your household passes the Food Assistance Program's eligibility rules, the amount of food assistance benefits you get depends on the number of people in your household and how much money is left after certain expenses are subtracted.

Florida Food Stamps Eligibility Rules
Individuals must pass all eligibility rules to get food assistance benefits. Some of the eligibility rules are:

Identity
Individuals must show proof they are the person they claim to be. Applicants must provide proof of their identity.

Work Rules
Healthy adults, 18 to 50 years of age, who do not have dependent children or are not pregnant, can only get food assistance benefits for 3 months in a 3-year period if they are not working or participating in a work or workfare program.

Income and Deductions
Most households must pass a gross income limit less than or equal to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Households with a member disqualified for breaking Food Assistance Program rules, felony drug trafficking, running away from a felony warrant, or not participating in a work program must have gross income less than or equal to 130% of the FPL. Households with a disqualified member must have net income less than 100% of the FPL. Households with people who are age 60 or older, or disabled, must only meet the net monthly income limit. 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 live in the state of Florida.

Citizenship
Individuals must be a U.S. citizen or have a qualified noncitizen status.

Social Security Number
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 $2,250 or $3,250 effective October 1, 2014 (if the household contains an elderly or disabled member).

Change Reporting
Households must report when the total monthly gross income exceeds 130% of the Federal Poverty Level for the household size and when work hours of able bodied adults fall below 20 hours per week when averaged monthly.  The household must report these changes within 10 days after the end of the month of the change.

Ineligibility Reasons
People who are convicted of drug trafficking, who are running away from a felony warrant, who break Food Assistance Program rules on purpose, who are noncitizens without a qualified status, and some students in colleges or universities are not eligible for food assistance benefits.

SUNCAP
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.

How do I apply?
The quickest way is from any computer with an internet connection: click here. Complete a paper application by downloading and printing from this site: click here. The completed paper application can be mailed to ACCESS Central Mail Center, P.O. Box 1770, Ocala, FL, 34478-1770, or it can be faxed or hand-delivered to a customer service center

How long will it take to complete an application?
On average, it takes about 30 minutes for most of our customers to complete the on-line application. This is the quickest way to apply. Once you finish filling out the application, you may submit it to DCF automatically by using their e-signature option.

What happens next?
It may take up to 30 days to process your application (longer if you need a disability determination). If you sign up for email notification in your MyACCESS Account you will receive an email alert when we post a notice in your account. If you did not sign up for email notification they will send your notices by mail.

STEP 1: Your application is reviewed to see if you need an interview. If you need an interview, they will call you within 5 days at the phone number you provided. If they can't reach you we will leave a message and send a notice with their contact information. During your interview, they will ask questions about your household situation. You may also be asked questions to help them verify your identity.

STEP 2: You may need to provide additional information. They will give or send a notice to you showing what is needed. The notice will give you a deadline to provide the required information. Some examples are, proof of identity, citizenship, and noncitizen status. Proof of earned and unearned income for each household member. You can mail, fax, upload your documents to MyACCESS Account, or turn in information at a local office or community partner. Please write your ACCESS # or case #, name, date of birth, phone number, etc., on all of the information you give them. Allow 3 days for your MyACCESS Account to show the information was received.

STEP 3: Your information is received and your application is being processed. Your needs are important and they want to ensure every family receives the correct benefit, but it may still take up to 30 days to finish your application.

STEP 4: Your eligibility is determined. Food Assistance or Cash Assistance: If you are eligible for the first time, and your case is approved, you will be mailed an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card with a brochure that tells you how to use your card. If you received benefits in the past 24 months and still have an EBT card, you can use that card if your case number is the same and the card is not expired. If you no longer have your EBT card or your card has expired, please contact EBT customer service at 1-888-356-3281 for a replacement. If you are reapplying and it has been more than 24 months since you received food or cash assistance, a new EBT card will automatically be mailed to you.

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