Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS)
Frequently Asked Questions
How will COVID-19 affect my Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits? Will there be an early release of SNAP benefits?
Governor DeSantis has directed the Department of Children and Families to make several changes to ensure the benefits provided to Florida families are not interrupted during this public health emergency. Under his leadership, we have waived work requirements for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for the months of March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October (pending federal approval).
Florida has extended SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid benefits for those families who are scheduled to recertify in April, May, June, July and August ensuring benefits are provided without the need for human interaction.
We are participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) online purchasing program, allowing SNAP recipients to purchase groceries online through Walmart and Amazon beginning statewide on April 21. We are also working diligently with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to allow families whose children are eligible for free and reduced-price school lunch to receive Pandemic-EBT benefits.
We will continue exploring all options to support our customers throughout this time of uncertainty and stress. For more information and updates, please visit our COVID-19 information site at: www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml, utilize DCF’s Virtual Assistant located on the MYACCESS page, or you may contact the customer call center at 850-300-4323.
Will more money be released during this time?
As directed by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 27, 2020, the Department of Children and Families worked with our federal partners to temporarily increase all SNAP recipients’ benefit amounts to the maximum monthly allotment based on household size for the months of March, April, May, June, July, August and September. Additionally, DCF will request an extension from our federal partners for the month of October.
All clients can expect additional benefits to be included as a part of their regularly scheduled benefit allotment. Additionally, any new households approved for food assistance will receive additional benefits within a week of being approved for benefits. Please note, customers who are already receiving the maximum allotment will not receive an increase.
What other resources are available for my family?
Several resources are available for families seeking food and nutrition services during this time.
- Free meals for children under 18 years of age are available through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' (FDACS) Summer BreakSpot program. To find the closest participating program, please text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 or use the Summer BreakSpot children’s meal locator website at: SummerBreakSpot.FreshFromFlorida.com.
- Feeding Florida’s united network of 12 food banks are working rapidly to deploy food and other services into areas of need throughout the state. To locate a food bank in your area and where to access food/supplies, visit: https://www.feedingflorida.org/feeding-florida/florida-food-banks.
How can I apply for benefits now that DCF closed storefronts and lobbies?
The Department of Children and Families has worked diligently to ensure our clients have easy access to apply for benefits during this public health emergency. Please note, DCF’s Statewide Customer Call Center is available for customer questions and application assistance at 850-300-4323 (TTY 1-800-955-8771). Agents are available for extended hours, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; The fastest way to apply for benefits is online at: https://www.myflorida.com/accessflorida
- Customers can report changes, upload documents, and check the status of their application and benefits through their MyACCESS Self-Service Portal.
- In addition, the DCF Virtual Assistant on the MYACCESS page can help you re-set your password, update verification for application processing, get quick answers to general questions and so much more.
- Customers can pick up paper applications outside of your local storefront or lobby. Drop box and instructions for customers are available at all storefronts and lobbies to submit information and applications without human interaction.
- Customers can call DCF at 850-300-4323 (TTY 1-800-955-8771) to request an application by mail. Completed applications can be submitted by FAX to 1-866-886-4342 or mail it to:
ACCESS Central Mail Center
P.O. Box 1770
Ocala, FL 34478-1770
- A call center agent is available to take applications by phone at 850-300-4323 (TTY 1-800-955-8771). Please note, this process is time consuming and may take up to an hour – customers are encouraged to utilize this option as a last resort.
Will there be a lift on the Retroactive coverage rule?
The Department of Children and Families is working with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Florida’s Medicaid agency, to explore all options to ensure access to public health care. The state will not be ending Medicaid eligibility for most individuals who were receiving Medicaid on or after March 18, 2020 through the last day of the month in which the public health emergency ends. Individuals who believe they may be eligible for Medicaid should apply as soon as possible. Medicaid benefits begin from the first day of the month in the month of application. For updates, please visit: www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml.
During this public health emergency, individuals applying for Medicaid may be unable to submit all the documentation required to process their application. Beginning with applications received in February 2020, we are extending the timeframe for individuals to submit any necessary paperwork to 120 days from the date the application was received. If the Medicaid application is approved, the individual’s Medicaid eligibility effective date will still be the first day of the month that the initial application was received.
I’ve lost my job, but don’t have a way to show that I’ve lost my income. What documentation does DCF need to process my benefits?
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) will check to see if we can verify customers’ information using an electronic verification technology on their behalf. If we are unable to verify, common documents that can be provided includes paystubs, W2 forms, tax returns, collateral contacts, or a statement from an individual aware of the situation, etc. Additional questions about verification can be directed to DCF at 850-300-4323 (TTY 1-800-955-8771).
Where do I apply for unemployment?
To apply for unemployment, please visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website at: http://www.floridajobs.org
Will the stimulus check have an effect on my eligibility?
Federal guidance from the Social Security Administration and United States Department of Agriculture state that, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6409, these rebates are excluded from consideration as income in the month of receipt and as an asset for 12 months following receipt for purposes of SNAP and Medicaid. A household would not be considered to have exceeded the income limit due to these payments because they are excluded, but receipt of these payments could affect a household’s eligibility after 12 months if the payments cause the household to exceed the resource limit.