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.

How do I apply?

Families that need help with their food, financial or medical needs may apply for assistance:

From any computer with an internet connection at:

At one of the Department of Children and Families community partners. A listing of community partners can be found online at:

At a Department of Children and Families customer service center. A listing of Customer Service Centers can be found online at:

Download a paper application. The completed paper application can be mailed or turned into a customer service center. The paper forms are located at:

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. Once you finish filling out the application, you may submit it to DCF automatically by using our e-signature option. You can also print and complete a paper version of the application. Once you complete the paper application, you can mail, fax or take it to any customer service center.

What happens next?

Once we have received your application, we will check it to see if we need to interview you and if we need verification of anything you reported on your application.

Applications for the Food Assistance and Temporary Cash Assistance Programs usually require an interview. Most interviews take less than 15 minutes can be done over the phone.

We will let you know if an interview is needed and a date for the interview.

We may need to ask you to give us proof of things you reported on your application, or told us during your interview. The most common things we may ask you to prove include:

  • Income from a job (pay stubs or a letter from you employer)
  • Income from another person
  • U.S. citizenship AND identity for all individuals applying for medical assistance

What happens after I turn in all my papers?

Once you have turned in everything we asked for, we will review your application and see how we can help you. We will send you a letter that will tell you what programs you are eligible for, how much your payments will be, and when they will begin. If you are not eligible for a program for which you applied, we will send you a letter telling you the reason you are not eligible.

How long will it take?

Each case is different, but we finish most food assistance applications in less than 30 days and we finish most Medicaid and Temporary Cash Assistance applications in less than 45 days.

How can I check on my application?

If you submit an application online, you must first create a My ACCESS Account. To get more information about or sign up for My ACCESS Account, click on My ACCESS Account. Through this account, you will be able to check on your case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of the things you can do from My ACCESS Account include:

  • Check the status of your application
  • See the amount of your food assistance and cash assistance benefits (once approved)
  • See when your next review is due
  • See the date and time of a scheduled appointment
  • See a list of items you need to return
  • Print a temporary Medicaid card (once approved)
  • • Submit a change of address request

To get more information about or sign up for My ACCESS Account, click on My ACCESS Account.

You may also check on your case by calling our Customer Call Center at 1-866-76ACCES or 
1-866-762-2237.  Calling this number will allow you to

  • Get your case status
  • Get a list of items you need to return
  • Get the date and time for a scheduled appointment
  • Get general information
  • Speak to a customer service agent

What happens after I am approved?

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 review your case.

If you are applying for cash or food assistance the first time, you will receive your EBT card in the mail with instructions on how to use it once your case is approved.

  • If you are reapplying for benefits and no longer have your EBT card, please call EBT Customer Service anytime at 1-888-356-3281 to get a replacement card. Another EBT card will not automatically be mailed to you once your case is approved.

Where can I use my Food Assistance (SNAP) EBT card?

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

Your gold plastic card is your permanent Medicaid ID. If your Medicaid eligibility stops, keep the card. If you become eligible again, then you will be able to use the same ID card.

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.