FAQ: Florida Department of Children and Families

  1. I do not have access to a computer, so can I apply using a paper form?

While the fast way to apply is online, you can obtain paper applications from the local DCF and Social Security offices. You can also send a letter requesting DCF mail you a hard copy.

  1. I am applying for SNAP benefits online, but I am stuck on one of the pages. Is there someone who can help?

If you are experiencing a technical problem, there is a ‘help’ button visible in the upper right hand section of the screen. Solutions to the most common issues encountered will be there. If you need assistance on completing the application, you can get help in person from a local service center.

  1. How long does it take to get an answer after I submit my application to DCF?

Most applications, regardless of programs, take at least five to seven business days. It can take longer, though, if the caseworker discovers discrepancies on an application. Find out more about the application process for food and financial assistance programs in Florida by downloading our free and comprehensive guide.

  1. I was approved for Medicaid, so how long until I receive the card?

DCF will mail a Medicaid gold card within a couple of weeks after approval. However, if you need medical attention, simply use your ACCESS number to print a temporary card from the online portal to take the doctor.

  1. I am moving out of Florida, so will my benefits transfer with me?

No. Each state receives an allotment of funding for the various DCF programs, so you would need to apply in your new state to access their funding and programs.

  1. I received a renewal application, but nothing has changed on it. Should I bother filling it out?

Yes, please fill out the renewal application when you receive it. Even if nothing has changed, this lets the program administrators know that the account is still active and that you are still interested in receiving benefits.

  1. How long do I have to send in my renewal application?

In most areas of Florida, you will have until the 15th of the month in which you receive the renewal application to send it back. Click here for our comprehensive guide on Florida assistance applications and renewals.

  1. Will DCF suspend my Florida Medicaid benefits if I am late with child support payments?

Yes. The state of Florida requires that any person applying for benefits and services through the state be current on all child support obligations. It is important for enrollees to continue to meet eligible requirements to receive benefits.

  1. I received my EBT card for SNAP in Florida, but there is no balance on it. Why?

It takes a few days for benefits to transfer to electronic accounts. If you qualified for food support but have not received benefits after a week, contact the program administrator nearest you if you. However, if you qualified for the services portion of SNAP but not the food support benefits, you have a card for access medical and counseling services, but not food purchases.

  1. I received Medicaid, but my current doctor does not accept the insurance I chose. Do I have to switch doctors?

If you like your doctor, you can switch your insurance provider. In some office locations, a representative is available to make those changes in person and answer questions, while in others you will have to call Medicaid in the change.

  1. Why does my child’s school offer a free lunch program, but not a breakfast program?

Only schools where at least 80 percent or more of the students receive free or reduced lunches are required to provide breakfast. Some schools with less than the minimum requirement may elect to offer a morning meal. Parents can find out more about school meal programs available in Florida by clicking here for our guide.

  1. I do not currently have a permanent address. Can I still apply for services with the Department of Children and Families?

Yes, you can apply for services without having a permanent address. Florida residents who are homeless or who are temporarily living with relatives can still apply for food stamps and other related services. Find out which Florida welfare programs you may qualify for by downloading our all-inclusive guide.

  1. If I am the one applying for SNAP in Florida, why do I have to list my other family members?

The SNAP food program needs to know how much food you and your family will require each month. The only way to do that is to know who they are, their ages and whether they are living with you full time or not.

  1. Do all Florida counties offer a Summer Meal Program to kids in school?

Yes, all of the 67 counties in Florida offer some form of summer meal plan for those students who received free and reduced lunches during the school year. There are special designated areas throughout larger areas in order to make getting to these meal stations easier.

  1. Can I get an additional EBT card so that my husband can have one for his wallet?

Unfortunately, DCF will only issue one card to the primary applicant, as benefits are only for the enrollee.

  1. Is WIC and SNAP the same thing in Florida?

WIC (Women, Infant and Children) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) are two different programs in Florida that both provide food assistance to needy families. For more information about the differences between the two programs, download our free guide here.

  1. Why doesn’t SNAP cover pet food?

The focus of the SNAP program is on providing adequate nutrition for human residents of Florida. Several organizations focus specifically on companion-animal assistance.

  1. Vitamins are food, so why doesn’t SNAP cover those?

Vitamins are a gray area for SNAP. Since vitamins are unregulated and considered medicinal, SNAP benefits do not cover the purchase. Over the counter drugs, such as cold medicines, are also not covered.

  1. I just married someone who is receiving SNAP benefits. Does that mean that I get to share them, too?

You can share SNAP benefits if your combined income still makes you eligible for the program. However, you should update the information because there is an additional member to the household and the award amount could be higher.

What Assistance Benefits Does the Department of Children and Families Provide?

Various assistance benefits are available to residents of Florida through the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Families can receive benefits that allow them to buy nutritious groceries, save money on school lunch for their children and obtain temporary financial assistance. Additionally, petitioners who qualify for one assistance program are also typically eligible for other benefits in Florida. Find out how to qualify for benefits through Florida’s DCF and how to apply for them by downloading our comprehensive guide.

Who Can Receive Assistance Benefits in Florida?

Each assistance program offered through Florida’s Department of Children and Families has various eligibility qualifications that petitioners must meet in order to enroll. Household size and income are only a few factors that are typically taken into account. For more details on eligibility for Florida DCF assistance programs, download our guide.