General Program Information

What types of Help does DCF Offer?

The Department of Children and Families, Economic Self Sufficiency Program has several programs that can help Florida families. They include, Food Assistance, Temporary Cash Assistance, Medicaid and Refugee Assistance.

Each of these programs has its own eligibility rules, but you may apply for any (or all) of these programs at one time using the same application.

Food Assistance Poster - English | Spanish | Creole

How do I apply?

How long will it take to complete an application?

On average, it takes about 30 minutes for most of our customers to complete the on-line application. This is the quickest way to apply. Once you finish filling out the application, you may submit it to DCF automatically by using our e-signature option.

What happens next?

It may take up to 30 days to process your application (longer if you need a disability determination). If you sign up for email notification in your MyACCESS Account you will receive an email alert when we update your application status. If you are not able to go online, we will send your notices by mail.

Please allow 5 days before you contact us with questions.

STEP 1: Your application is reviewed to see if you need an interview.

  • If you need an interview:
    • We will call you within 5 days at the phone number you provided. If we can’t reach you we will leave a message and send a notice with our contact information.
    • During your interview, we will ask questions about your household situation.
    • You may also be asked questions to help us verify your identity.

STEP 2: You may need to provide additional information.

  • We will give or send a notice to you showing what is needed.
  • The notice will give you a deadline to provide the required information. Some examples are:
    • Proof of identity, citizenship, and noncitizen status.
    • Proof of earned and unearned income for each household member (such as last four weeks of check stubs, child support, notices from Social Security or Veteran’s Administration)
    • You can mail, fax, upload your documents to MyACCESS Account, or turn in information at a local office or community partner. Please write your ACCESS # or case #, name, date of birth, phone number, etc., on all of the information you give us.
    • Allow 3 days for your MyACCESS Account to show the information was received.

STEP 3: Your information is received and your application is being processed.

  • Your needs are important and we want to ensure every family receives the correct benefit, but it may still take up to 30 days to finish your application (longer if you need a disability determination).

STEP 4: Your eligibility is determined.

  • If you are eligible for:
    • Food Assistance or Cash Assistance: You will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card by mail within a few days.
      • If you do not receive your EBT card within 7 days, or you need help with your card, contact EBT Customer Service: 1-888-356-3281.
      • We will only reissue an EBT card if you request it by calling EBT Customer Service.
    • Medicaid: You will receive a Medicaid gold card in the mail from us for eligible household members. It takes approximately 2-3 weeks to get a Medicaid card after your case is approved. If you need proof of your Medicaid eligibility right away, you can print a temporary card from your MyACCESS Account.
      • The gold plastic card is a permanent Medicaid ID. If Medicaid eligibility stops, keep the card. If you become eligible again, you will be able to use the same ID card.
      • The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will send Medicaid Choice Counseling information to you if you need to select a managed care plan.
  • Most cases are approved for either 6 or 12 months. We will send you a letter telling you what to do when it is time for us to renew your benefits.
  • If you are not eligible for one or all benefits:
    • You will receive a notice in the mail and in your MyACCESS Account explaining the reason(s) why you are not eligible.

Are there any other places I can go to for help?

More services are available to you from other agencies. Click here to see a list of other state and federal programs you may find helpful.