Through the Florida Department of Children and Families, the State of Florida offers qualifying Winter Park individuals and families food assistance benefits to help them afford nutritious food for the household.
Here’s a quick explanation of the program:
Winter Park residents applying for food assistance benefits must provide proof of identity and a valid social security number (or proof of application for an SSN). They must be a citizen of the United States and legal resident of Florida. Certain convictions, outstanding felony warrants, violation of food assistance program rules, and attending certain colleges or universities result in ineligibility.
There are additional eligibility requirements for “able-bodied adults without dependents.” These are people ages 18 through 49 who are physically and mentally capable of working and who don’t live with a child under 18.
To receive State food assistance benefits for more than 3 months within a 3-year period, adults in this group must work or volunteer at least an average of 80 hours per month, participate in a Labor and Workforce Development Agency work program for at least an average of 80 hours per month, or spend at least an average of 80 hours per month in some combination of these options. Learn more here.
Most households must have a gross income equal to or less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which changes every year. Federal Poverty Levels in 2016 are:
- $11,770 for a household of 1
- $15,930 for a household of 2
- $20,090 for a household of 3
- $24,250 for a household of 4
- $28,410 for a household of 5
- $32,570 for a household of 6
- $36,730 for a household of 7
- $40,890 for a household of 8
If your household’s gross income is equal to or less than double the relevant amount, you would probably qualify for food assistance benefits from the State of Florida.
What You Can Buy with Food Assistance Benefits
Florida food assistance benefits can be used to buy meat, poultry, fish, dairy items, fruit, vegetables, bread, cereal, and plants or seeds for food. The program doesn’t cover non-food items like toiletries, household products, personal care or beauty products, paper goods, pet food or supplies, vitamins, supplements, alcohol, or tobacco, nor does it cover hot prepared foods or foods eaten in-store.
How to Apply for Food Assistance Benefits
Residents of Winter Park and Florida apply for food assistance benefits through the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) program. Go here to create an account, determine your eligibility, and apply online for benefits.