The Food Stamp program in Florida is now called the Food Assistance Program, and it helps low-income families purchase food from grocery stores. The program also provides education on food preparation and nutrition. Florida's program is under the umbrella of the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP. Working with state agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations, the Food Assistance Program works to ensure that those who are eligible and in need have access to healthy food.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If your household has received benefits from Florida's food stamp program, but they are about to run out, you can reapply. Submit a renewal request with the Florida Department of Children and Families, either online or in person. If you are approved, and you have received benefits in the last 24 months, you will not receive a new Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, your current card will be reactivated.
In order to get help from Florida's Food Assistance Program – either for the first time or if you're reapplying – you must meet certain requirements:
- Provide proof of identity: You need a photo ID in order to apply for the program.
- Provide a Social Security number: You need either an SSN or proof that you've applied for one.
- Meet work requirements: Healthy adults with no kids who are not working or participating in a work or workfare program can get food assistance benefits only for three months in a three-year period.
- Live in Florida: You must be a resident of the state.
- Be a U.S. citizen: You may also apply if you have qualified noncitizen status.
- Prove cooperation in matters of child support: This only applies to certain applicants who must cooperate with the state's child support enforcement agency.
Provide information on assets:
Most food assistance households can have assets and still get help. Households with an elderly or disabled member (called a disqualified member) must meet an asset limit.
* Report change in income: When a family's total monthly gross income exceeds 130 percent 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.
You are not eligible for Florida's Food Assistance Program if you have been convicted of drug trafficking or are running from a felony warrant. Anyone who intentionally breaks Food Assistance Program rules is also ineligible, as are noncitizens without qualified status and some students in colleges or universities.
What You Can and Cannot Buy
Florida's food stamp program allows households to buy bread, cereal, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and plants and seeds to grow food. Benefits cannot be used for pet food, soap, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, vitamins, medicines, hot foods or food to eat in the store.
How to Reapply
If your household has received benefits from Florida's food stamp program, but they are about to run out, you can reapply:
- Submit a renewal request with the Florida Department of Children and Families, either online or in person.
- You will be contacted for an interview, if required.
- You may be asked to provide additional information, such as check stubs or proof of child support.
- Your eligibility for renewal is determined.
If you are approved, and you have received benefits in the last 24 months, you will not receive a new Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Your current card will be reactivated and is good until the date on the card. If you've moved since the card was issued, submit a change of address in your online account, by mail or in person. If you need help with your card, contact EBT Customer Service at 888-356-3281.
- To continue receiving benefits, your total household income cannot be under 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or FPL. The FPL varies based on your household size and total household income.
Heather Skyler is a business journalist and editor who has written for wide variety of publications, including Newsweek.com, The New York Times and Delta's SKY magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Miami University and a master's degree in writing from the University of Washington in Seattle. Before writing for a variety of publications, she taught business writing in Seattle.