Since the 1970s, the food stamps benefits program has been available in all American states and territories. SNAP food benefits, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the national name for this program. The Florida SNAP benefits program aims to keep low income people in good health by providing them access to food. To accomplish this, benefits for food stamps program can be used to purchase almost all food items at qualifying grocery stores across the state. However, there are some restrictions placed on what cannot be bought with these benefits. To be granted access to food stamp assistance, applicants must follow the enrollment process. If enrolled, the beneficiary will receive an EBT card in the mail. Once the beneficiary has a benefits card food stamps can be used to buy food in a similar way to using a debit card. To learn more about FL SNAP benefits and how to use a food stamps benefits card, read the information below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Florida
Most food items can be purchased with Florida SNAP food benefits in eligible grocery stores. Food stamps assistance can be used to purchase the following:
- Breads and cereals
Junk food such as soda, candy and energy drinks can be purchased with SNAP benefits as well as luxury items such as steak and lobster. Plants and seeds can be bought with FL SNAP benefits if the items will be planted and grown for food. Benefits from food stamps cannot be used to buy living animals such as barnyard chickens, even if the animals will be used to provide food to the beneficiary. Live seafood is the exception to this rule.
Note: Learn more about the SNAP program by downloading our guide.
Items You Cannot Buy With Florida SNAP Benefits
The food stamps benefits card cannot be used to purchase a variety of non-food items or items that may be harmful to the food stamps recipient’s health. Florida SNAP food benefits cannot be used to purchase the following types of products:
- Pet food
- Medicine or vitamins
- Cleaning supplies
- Paper goods
- Alcoholic beverages
- Any kind of tobacco product
Benefits from SNAP are primarily used to purchase food that will be taken home to be eaten or prepared by the beneficiary. Therefore, food stamps assistance cannot be used to buy hot or prepared meals or any items eaten while the beneficiary was at the grocery store.
How long does it take to receive Florida SNAP benefits after enrollment?
Enrollment in the Florida SNAP benefits program is a straightforward process. First, the SNAP benefits applicant must submit the appropriate form to the Florida Department of Economic Self-Sufficiency. Then, the applicant will have to wait to see if he or she will need to interview to be enrolled in the program. After all the necessary steps are completed, it will take 30 days at most for the applicant to receive word of his or her acceptance or denial in the program. Information on SNAP benefits enrollment will come via the post office.
It is highly recommended that food stamps benefits applicants gather all their needed documents for the food stamps application as all applicants will need to provide personal information including their citizen status and their monthly income.
Florida EBT Card Overview
Once a food stamps beneficiary has been enrolled in the program, he or she will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card or EBT card. This food stamps benefits card operates like a debit card at approved grocery stores and ATMs. The Florida food stamps card is called the ACCESS card in the state. At the start of the month, SNAP food stamps benefits are deposited into the beneficiaries’ accounts. However, if a beneficiary runs out of benefits, he or she will have to wait until the next month’s deposit. SNAP beneficiaries can check the balance of their card online through their ACCESS account or by calling the phone number specified on the back of the card.
Florida SNAP recipients cannot withdraw cash with their benefits card from an ATM inside a gambling facility, an adult entertainment venue or any store that primarily sells alcohol. If a beneficiary is caught trading or selling his or her SNAP benefits card for cash, he or she could face jail time.
Please note, that EBT benefits cards do expire, much like debit or credit cards. Florida food stamps enrollees should be aware of their card’s expiration date.
Learn About Florida SNAP Benefit Amounts
Many aspects are considered when determining the amount of Florida food stamps benefits an enrollee receives. The largest factor is income as the SNAP benefits program is designed to help those who earn a low income. Therefore, the more income an enrollee earns, the less benefits he or she will receive. However, resources such as the SNAP beneficiary’s savings account will not be factored in when determining the amount of food stamps benefits he or she will collect each month.
SNAP benefits amounts are also determined by household size. For example, a household of six members will receive more benefits than a household of three. Elderly or disabled SNAP benefits recipients may have different criteria for receiving food stamps benefits. Also, able-bodied adults who do not have children will not be able to stay enrolled in the program if they are not seeking employment.