Florida offers a Food Stamps program through the Florida Department of Children and Families. This program is designed to assist low-income households with the purchase of nutritious food for the family table. In this article, we take a look at the Food Stamp program’s eligibility requirements, application procedures and purchasing rules.
Food Stamp Eligibility RequirementsIn order to receive Food Stamps in the state of Florida, you must meet the following requirements:
- Proof of Identity: You must be able to show proof of your identity.
- Work Requirements: If you are between the ages of 18-50 and not disabled, you must work at least 20 hours a week to receive Food Stamps. Individuals who are not working or participating in a workfare program may only receive Food Stamps for three months in every three year period.
- Gross Income Requirements: Your household monthly gross income (pre-tax pay) must be less than 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four, in 2011, this is $29,055.
- Net Income Requirements: Your household monthly net income (after-tax pay) must be less than 100% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four, in 2011, this is $22,350. This requirement does not apply if one individual in your household is 60 or older or disabled.
- Residency Requirement: You must live in the state of Florida.
- Citizenship Requirement: You must be either a U.S. citizen or a qualified noncitizen.
- Social Security Number Requirement: You must provide either a Social Security Number or proof that you have applied for a Social Security Number.
- Child Support Requirement: You may be required to cooperate with the state in establishing paternity and providing child support.
- Asset Requirement: You must have less than $2,000 in assets, excluding your home and cars worth less than $8,500. If at least one person in your household is 60 or older or disabled, you may have up to $3,000 in assets.
- Ineligible Classes: You are not eligible for Food Stamps if you have been convicted of drug trafficking, are a fleeing felon, have intentionally violated a court-ordered program, or are a student in an institution of higher education (there are exceptions if you are working, a single parent, or other special cases).
Food Stamp Application ProcedureIf you feel you meet the eligibility requirements for Food Stamps, you may apply for Food Stamps online using the Access Florida system. This system will take all of the information needed for your application and is the fastest way to receive Food Stamps. The Florida Department of Children and Families will approve or reject your application within 7-30 days.
Food Stamp PurchasesFood Stamps may be used to purchase food and plants and seeds used to grow food. You may not use Food Stamps to purchase:
- Nonfood items
- Pet food
- Alcoholic beverages
- Food that you will consume in the store
- Hot foods