: How to ACCESS Florida Benefits

Many people have problems navigating services offered by the Florida Department of Children & Families online.  This guide was developed to help provide answers to many popular problems when applying for Food Assistance, Cash Assistance, or Medicaid in the state.  Before you even begin the application process on line make sure you have these 7 things:

  1. Your SSN #
  2. Date of Birth
  3. All Income information (job, child support, Veteran benefits, etc)
  4. Net worth information to include checking, savings accounts, vehicles, homes, land or life insurance
  5. Housing expenses to include rent, mortgage payments and utility bills
  6. Health insurance information
  7. Proof of U.S. citizenship and identity

Having this information on hand will help the application process go much smoother at  You will then have to decide if you are applying for benefits for yourself alone, yourself and your family or another individual (this may happen if a person is incompetent or a child).  You will be then given the option to apply for one or all of the following program:

  • Food Assistance
  • Temporary Cash Assistance
  • Medicaid Program
  • Nursing Home Medicaid
  • Home and Community Based Services
  • Hospice
  • Medicare savings Programs
  • Benefits for pregnant women

Now it is time to apply and we highly recommend you use the online application process.  The online app should take between 15 to 45 minutes to complete and at the end of the process you will be able to back up and check your answers.  When your online application is submitted you will be shown a “Case Summary”, please print this for your records for proof of application.  You can expect a 7 to 30 day wait  to process your food assistance application and Applications for Medicaid and Temporary Cash Assistance will take between 30 to 45 days.  Medicaid application are almost guaranteed to take more than 45 days due to the volume of claims and poor people in the state.

Please make sure you do not attempt to obtain benefits by fraud.  This will result in a $250,000 fine or jail time or both.  Plus you will have to live with the fact that you cheated your fellow Americans.

If you need help or would prefer to apply in person visit a Florida Department of Children & Families service center in your area.  A list of service centers can be found here.  These services centers are open on weekdays and some weekends.  Please call ahead of time to schedule an appointment to avoid a wait.


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