If you are a resident in the state of Florida and you are having troubles to afford healthy food, the federal government offers special benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), so that you can supply feeding for you and your household.
This financial assistance provides education about nutrition, healthy diet, meal preparation, and monthly funds to buy food.
If you want to become a beneficiary of the SNAP, keep reading this article to find out more about the criteria and application process.
You and your household members must:
- Be able to present proves that confirms your identity.
- Be a U.S. citizen (or qualified non-citizen).
- Have a registered residency in Florida.
- Provide your Social Security Number (SSN) or show proof that you have applied for one.
Your household is constituted by all the people that live, buy, and/or eat meals with you.
Who counts as household members?
- Sons that are less than 22 years old, and spouses (even if they purchase and make their meals separately).
- Disabled people or over 60 years old. Minors at home under your parental control.
Who does not count as household members?
- Sons over 22 years old.
- Disable or elderly (over 60 years old) that live with you but buy and make food separately.
- People who are currently renting a room in your house.
The amount is set comparing the household gross and net income with the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is updated every year. In the following chart, you will find the income limits and the amount of benefits you can receive.
- For the gross income: General households should meet 200% or less of the FPL; if one of the members is disqualified for breaking the rules, they should meet an amount equal or less than 130%.
- For the net income: Households with a disqualified member must reach only 100% or less of the FPL.
These limits are valid from the date of approval indicated in the chart, until September 30, 2020.
➡ READ ALSO: Florida residency Requirements.
When applying for food stamps benefits in Florida, you must be able to work, participate in work programs, and accept suitable job offers if you are between 16 and 59 years, and you are mentally and physically prepared.
In case you get accepted, the Department of Economic Opportunities will send you a letter about the SNAP Employment and Training Program (SNAP E&T), with instructions to follow.
Note: The benefits might be stopped if you do not complete this requirement.
Click here for more information about this specific subject.
The household will be subject to an assets limit of $2,250 if they have one disqualified member, and $3,500 if one of the household members is disabled or an elderly person.
If you are:
- Unemployed: You can receive the benefits as long as you are not leaving your job or working fewer hours only to meet the qualification criteria.
- Student: Individuals who are studying at least a half-time are not eligible for food assistance unless they meet the exceptions described on this page and all the other general qualifications.
- Non-citizens of the U.S.: If you are a non-citizen but you have a qualified alien status, you can still apply. Click here for more details.
It is the easiest way to apply for SNAP benefits in Florida.
- Go to the Florida Department of Children and Families official website and click on “Am I eligible?” if you want to take the test, or “Apply for Benefits” if you are ready to start the process.
- If you click on “Apply for Benefits”, you will see this page. Read carefully, collect the required information, and select the option to start a new application.
- If you do not have an account, choose the option to create a new one and complete the formulary with your personal data.
- Follow the prompts after the registration and complete the application.
Call to the Customer Call Center of the Department of Children and Families (850-300-4323 or 1-866-762-2237): Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 6 pm, and request an application form. You will receive it in your mail in a few days; fill it and send it back to a local office.
Find your nearest local agency, go to their offices, and tell them about your case.
In Florida, you will have to wait about 30 days to receive a response on whether you are eligible or not to get SNAP benefits.
Receiving the benefits
If you are accepted, you will start receiving benefits depending on the 9th and 8th digits of your case number, between the 1st and 28th day of the month. See the full schedule here.
The minimum amount that a single person can get is $16, and the maximum is $200 (monthly). Funds will be deposited by the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system, also called the ACCESS card in Florida. You can use it to buy dairy products, vegetables, fruits, cereals, bread, meat, fish, poultry, plants, etc.
In general, Florida households receive benefits for 6 months, this is the certification period; before this time ends, you will have to renew your food stamps.