SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP–formerly the Food Stamp Program) helps low-income households buy nutritious food. It is also called the Food Assistance Program within the state of Florida.
A SNAP household is normally a group of people who live together and buy food and prepare meals together. If your household passes SNAP’s eligibility rules, the amount of benefits you receive will depend on the number of people in your household and how much monthly income is left after certain expenses are deducted. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen or have a qualified noncitizen status. Asset limits only apply to households with a member disqualified for breaking Food Assistance Program rules: felony drug trafficking, running away from a felony warrant, or not participating in a work program. If at least one person is age 60+ or disabled, the limit increases.
NEED HELP APPLYING FOR SNAP?
Community Partners are working with the Department of Children and Families to provide help with applying for SNAP benefits and other benefits provided through DCF.
Find a Regional Office or Client Relations Coordinator
These offices should only be called if you have not been able to resolve your issues at the 1-866-762-2237 ACCESS helpline, or through your MyAccess account. If you need to check on the status of your application, please know that the Department of Children and Families has up to 30 days to process your application, and any status checks within that timeframe should be through your MyAccess account. Most calls within this time period will result in you being reminded that your application will be processed some time within the 30 day period.
The SUNCAP Program is a special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP—formerly the Food Stamp Program) who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You may be eligible to receive food stamps through the SUNCAP Program without any additional application, paperwork, or interviews. Individuals in SUNCAP can use a simplified application to apply for benefits, and their interview for SSI serves the dual purpose of determining their SUNCAP eligibility. They are only required to re-certify every three years (as opposed to annually). If you already receive foods stamps, you may be converted automatically to the SUNCAP Program when you become SSI eligible. If your food stamp benefits will decrease as a result of SUNCAP, you may choose to continue receiving your food stamps under the regular SNAP.
FRESH ACCESS BUCKS (FAB)
Fresh Access Bucks (FAB), an initiative of Feeding Florida, is a USDA funded statewide nutrition incentive program that encourages SNAP recipients to redeem their benefits at farmers markets, produce stands, CSAs, mobile markets, and community grocery outlets to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. The program provides a combination of supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals for health care to eligible participants.
WIC provides food rich in certain key nutrients. Women and children enrolled in the WIC program receive food checks for a variety of foods such as milk, cheese, eggs, cereals, peanut butter or dry beans, and 100% fruit and vegetable juices. Women who are exclusively breastfeeding their babies receive additional cheese, juice, and dry beans, as well as carrots and canned tuna fish. Infants who are not breastfed receive the WIC contract brand of infant formula for the first year of life. Beginning at 6 months of age, infants may also receive infant cereal and fruit juice. Special formulas or nutritional supplements are also available to participants with certain medical conditions. WIC also provides nutrition education and breastfeeding support and education.
WIC is for:
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have recently become pregnant.
Pregnant women should visit a health care provider and apply for WIC as soon as they find out they are pregnant.
Infants under one year of age. Children under 5 years of age.
FREE OR REDUCED-PRICE SCHOOL MEALS
(NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM)
Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 30 cents a meal. Children from families with incomes over 185 percent of poverty pay a full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent. Local school food authorities set their own prices for full-price (paid) meals, and applications for free or reduced-price meals are provided by the local school. Use the table in the SNAP section above to see which incomes limits fall under percentiles of poverty level.
SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM
Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the School Breakfast Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals. (For the 2012-13 school year, 130 percent of the poverty level is $24,817 for a family of three; 185 percent is $35,317.) Children from families over 185 percent of poverty pay full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent. Free or reduced-price meal eligibility is determined through the National School Lunch Program application provided by the local school.
(FLORIDA’S USDA SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM)
There are over 3 thousand Summer BreakSpot sites around the state that provide free meals and snacks to low-income children (18 and under) when school is out for summer vacation. Local governments, school districts, and non-profits sponsor these free summer meal sites, which include schools, parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, housing projects, migrant centers, Native American reservations, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, houses of worship, summer camps and other sites. Most Summer BreakSpot sites are open to all children who go to the site during meal service times. No application is required.
IMMEDIATE FOOD ASSISTANCE
(FOOD PANTRIES AND FARM SHARE)
If you’re in a situation where you need emergency food, there are a few different options. Feeding Florida has a valuable directory in which you can locate your nearest food pantry or soup kitchen. Farm Share is a program that delivers fresh and healthy foods to communities in need. You can locate a distribution in the calendar linked below. If you need any more assistance, please contact us for more guidance. We also suggest dialing 2-1-1 on your phone or visiting the link below for further information and referral to other active programs in your area.