“Access Florida” is the Florida Department of Children and Families’ portal to information and access to Florida’s Temporary Cash Assistance Program, the Food Assistance Program and more. The program assists low income and needy individuals to receive the basic living necessities of food, clothing and shelter. For most people, their welfare definition includes these programs. This article will break down two of these different Access Florida programs, the Food Assistance Program and the Temporary Cash Assistance Program, and how to qualify for them.
Food Assistance Program
The Access Florida Food Assistance Program helps individuals purchase clean, healthy food. The assistance is normally provided to a particular group of people who all live together and eat meals with one another. The amount of benefits you can receive under this program varies based upon the size of your household and your monthly income and expenses.
This program is only available for residents of the State of Florida. You must either be a U.S. resident or have a qualified noncitizen status to receive these benefits. You cannot have a household income which is more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. This level is constantly changing depending on various circumstances set by the Federal government. If a member of your household is considered “disqualified” because he or she has previously broken the Food Assistance Program Rules or has been convicted of felony drug trafficking, running away from a felony warrant or failing to properly become involved in a work program, the household’s income cannot exceed 130% of the Federal Poverty Level.
If you have a disqualified member in your household, the household cannot have more than $2,000 in assets unless a elderly or disabled member lives there. In such a case, the household can have up to $3,000 in assets.
Once you qualify for benefits, you can use the assistance to purchase basic consumer food items such as fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, dairy products and more. However, the assistance cannot be used to purchase such items as paper products, pet supplies and pet foods, alcohol, medicines, toiletries and household items.
Temporary Cash Assistance
The Access Florida Temporary Cash Assistance program gives money to families which have children under the age of 18 (or age 19 if the child is still enrolled in high school) that earn under a certain income limit and meet certain asset value limits.
To receive benefits under the Temporary Cash Assistance program, an individual must can only receive benefits for a total of 48 months during his or her lifetimes (although there are certain exclusions for “child only cases” – which don’t have any such time limit). Your gross income cannot exceed 185% of the Federal Poverty Level and you cannot have more than $2,000 in assets, excluding a vehicle that the household needs to get to and from work (which cannot be valued at more than $8,500).
You must either be a United States citizen or have legal alien status and the benefits can only be paid to the household where the minor child or children resides. If you qualify for benefits, each adult household member must agree to submit to (and pass) a drug test. Finally, if any child in the household is under the age of 5, the child must receive all required immunizations.