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?
- The quickest way is 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:
- Complete a paper application by downloading and printing from this site:
http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/agencyforms.shtml. The completed paper application can be mailed to ACCESS Central Mail Center, P.O. Box 1770, Ocala, FL, 34478-1770, or it can be faxed or hand-delivered to a customer service center
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 post a notice in your account. If you did not sign up for email notification we will send your notices by mail.
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.
- Food Assistance or Cash Assistance:
- If you are eligible for the first time, and your case is approved, you will be mailed an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card with a brochure that tells you how to use your card.
- If you received benefits in the past 24 months and still have an EBT card, you can use that card if your case number is the same and the card is not expired (see Good Thru date on the card).
- If you no longer have your EBT card or your card has expired, please contact EBT customer service at 1-888-356-3281 for a replacement.
- If you are reapplying and it has been more than 24 months since you received food or cash assistance, a new EBT card will automatically be mailed to you.
- If you are eligible for Medicaid you will receive a gold card in the mail for eligible household members. The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will send Medicaid Choice Counseling information to you if you need to select a managed care plan.
- If you are not eligible for one or all benefits (food or cash assistance or Medicaid):
- 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.