Trying to Get Food Assistance Can Be Harder Than Ever!

 

Being a professional and out of work in a failing economy is enough to make your skin crawl most days. Each day is spent sending out resume after resume, usually online, never knowing if that written biography of your life, the one you worked hours on, even met the hands of the human resource department before being tossed in the waste basket. Realistically, today there are hundreds of people applying for each new position, and it’s common knowledge that most of those resumes won’t make it past the clerk. Couple that with the fact you must have more than one resume on hand these days for all various job board postings, and you have a recipe for emotional disaster. To add insult to injury, these online submissions require 30-40 min for each new posting and must be accompanied with a fresh new cover letter.

 
You’d think that at least while you are job searching endlessly, your state entitled benefits would be of assistance. After all, you paid into the system for years while others used it, and now it is your turn; you need it. Not so. Before you know it, you are bombarded with endless requests, information you sent and thought should be clear in its own right, is accepted and then rejected. Before you can catch your breath in this new found dilemma, you are spending exhorbitant amounts of time faxing, calling, sending letters to appease a determining caseworker. At times nothing seems sufficient. You are approved, then more Determination Case Letters meet your mailbox requesting further information before your case is discontinued. You spend more time faxing, calling in information you thought was already submitted to a call center that doesn’t answer – for days. This waste of precious job search time is spent trying to receive a paultry amount of EBT assigned to you and your family.
 
Do you know how many complaint boards on DCF Florida Food Stamps can be found? An enormous amount! If you are reading this letter you are one of the tens of thousands that are being treated the same manner! You know for a fact the call center is useless because you’ve called it in a frenzy for days. You’ve even tried the online email system that never answers. You know there is only one possiblity to get through. You are forced to trump down to your local agency, wait in line for hours to use one of the two customer phones available to speak to a caseworker. Or, maybe you resigned to eating onion soup for days on end, and said, “The heck with it”. Nonetheless, precious hours and minutes that should have been devoted to job searching is wasted again.
 
 Take note of other plights, Karen from Florida writes, “The Florida Department of Children and Families’ ACCESS website should be disabled as well as the ACCESS toll-free number. It is at an expense to tax payers to maintain the website and the toll-free number and both, especially the ACCESS toll-free number, are practically useless. There is not any contact or email address on the website to assist one if you have a problem other than the listed ones. You can not reach a live person at all on the 800 number. I have a simple problem. I need my case number. I can not access any information with out it and I can not get anyone to help me get it. I am homebound, as many, many others that receive assistance are. This long-standing issue needs to be brought to the attention of our law makers as it is a gross misuse and mismanagment of tax payers dollars. I actual feel the the FDCF is intentionally making it as difficult as possible to receive assistance so that perhaps people will be discouraged and not apply or give up.”
 
Another frustrated individual, S. Lynne, writes, “I am a professional who cannot secure a job due to the horrendous economy in Florida & therefore had to apply for food stamp assistance. My worker has proved completely unprofessional & incompetent and the agency (DCF Food Stamp Assistance) has proved completely unresponsive to my inquiries. Despite having met the criteria for expeditied foodstamps and having completed an interview and provided the requested information, my case worker failed to remove the hold from my account which caused me to lose all of my July Food Stamp benefits. I’ve called my worker, Jarvis Greene, more than 7 times and he has not returned any of my phone calls, despite previously stating to me that all he had to do was ‘change my information’ in the system to remove the hold status on my account since he had received all of the necessary verification information he requested from me. Initially, he actually refused to provide me with his name & was only able to find it out by leaving all of the phone messages requesting he contact me, on his office answering machine. I’ve also sent a complaint and request for appeal to DCF ACCESS customer service center and received absolutly no response. If anyone has any idea of how to get the attention on these incompetent civil servant or even better, whom ever they have to account to if anyone, I would sincerely appreciate it. I wouldn’t be applying for food stamps unless I desperately needed them, which is humiliating enough, but to be treated so dismissively by people who are paid by my taxes is not tolerable. Thank God I don’t have children to feed and do have family to help me otherwise I would be at a soup kitchen.” The local system complaint boards are inundated with these types of pleas.
 
Applying for Food Stamps is an embarrassement at times in its own right, but it is more of an embarrassement when you can’t feed those you love most. If you are experiencing the same, make your voice heard!
 
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8 responses to “Trying to Get Food Assistance Can Be Harder Than Ever!

  • Sandy

    I want to complain to the Federal Government, but cannot get an entity to lodge my complaint with. i am getting $550.20 every other week and the food stamp office is saying I am getting $1182.50 every other week. They explained that the amount you actually get is multiplied by a factor of 2.15 for what they term is the Gross amount. Therefore I am allowed $16.00 in stamps biweekly. That’s ridiculous. I want to complain because this is Federal Money given to this State for distribution. I feel this is wrong the way they are doing it. I am a person who takes action, but at this point I do not know where to go with it.I have lived in three other states and Florida from my experience is really messed up compared with the other tatess. Furthermore, others experiences on this blog are the same as I experienced it. It was a month before I received any benefits, and I actually had to drive 28 miles one way to the issuing office (Quincy Fl.) because I could not contact them by phone (all circuits are busy, try your call later), and physically ask for the interview (and get it) I needed to start benefits. If anyone has an address for federal food stamp program I’d appreciate it. Thanks for starting this blog. Its good to share the information with others so that we know that others are having the same experience in Florida that we are. When Rick Scott said “Lets get to Work” he probably meant in another State! (and no, I voted for alex sink!)

    • bourbourstamps

      Sounds like you are in the same boat I was when I started. There is not much you can do to move them or gain any sympathy no matter where you turn. You can lodge a formal complaint at: https://www.dcf.state.fl.us/contact/contact_email.shtml?recv=ACCESS but as you know, it is a state run organization and it takes for ever to hear a response. You don’t mention where you recieve the money from. If this is unemployment, then it shouldn’t be measure by 2.15. Mine is not. This just doesn’t sound right as it is double the intended amount. I would (unfortunately) drive to Quincy, get an operator on the phone and not get off until you find out why your are being charged double your actual income. I know on the My Access account I have, my income for Unemployment is only SLIGHTLY higher to account for the extra weeks that fall throughout the year when the months roll into three weeks. I would check this, sounds like someone entered something wrong. That is insane.

    • jane doe

      It looks like you receive $275 wkly gross in unemployment benefits. DCF uses $275*2=$550 biwkly. Then $550*2.15=$1182.50 is used as your gross for the month. If you have a rent/mortgage obligation let them know. If you have a separate light bill let them know. These things are taken into consideration when calculating your budget.

      • bourbourstamps

        Thank you very much for your information. I am sure it will help others as they peruse this site to obtain viable information regarding their food stamps. Food Stamp application can be daunting for many of us who have never found the need to rely on such endeavors. But, with diligence you can be approved. Some, unfortunately, give up in the quest. Don’t! Your family is worth it until you get over your economic hump!

  • Gulfresident

    I am a Florida mom as well and cannot believe or understand how the Department of Children and Families works? My reapplication that was sent via mail didn’t get there. I don’t by it. After waiting for 30 days they denied me for lack of information which I was asked to fax. We faxed the information and again they said they didn’t receive it. I told them we have the fax report and they said it doesn’t matter. So I emailed the information that they still needed, uploaded them and they had everything processed two weeks ago. First person at the call center said I should wait 72 hours and then see if I get back on food stamps. Four days later I called again and they said it might even take 7-10 days. After 10 days they said it would take another 30 days.
    It is so frustrating. I can’t buy any fresh food for my kids. It is difficult to even afford milk. I can’t believe they didn’t receive my information. Am I the only one that has that problem? Total lack of communication!

    • bourbourstamps

      I’m sorry, but been a bit sick and haven’t checked this comment section. No, you are not the only one going through this. If you Google complaint boards, you will see many similar complaints on this topic. Have you checked out this entire blog? Do go to the Archives as it will WALK you through what you need to do. I went through the same issue and kept being put off. I finally did get approved, but for only $100 a month. I am only on AWI, and have little money too. Been out of work since 5/13/2011. It has been hard for us. Don’t give up. The best thing I mention is to go to your LOCAL Food Assistance Office. I know it is not fun, but if you go 20 min. BEFORE they open, get to the front door, get on the FIRST phone, you will have a live representative. This was the ONLY way I received my benefits. I went round and round on emails, but never received a response. The FAXING did get response when I sent in documentation. Don’t delay, if you are still denied, go to that local office. Be sure you ask them, “Are you sure this is ALL I need now?” Make sure they reopen your case after you get them documentation. This takes time also, as when they receive new documentation, someone must re enter your case. A live representative, when you are dire straits, is the best route! Keep me posted.

      • gulfresident

        Thank you so much for your advice and blog! I finally received food stamps for days ago… someone there had a heart and approved us before Christmas. This means so much to us. we also told our food bank about the problems and they offered help. I called customer service center every other day and really pleaded with them. surely persistence is needed when dealing with them. they slashed so many jobs they are clearly overwhelmed. I just want everybody to know who comes across this blog that you need to do your homework if you want assistance. it’s horrible to be out of a job or being under employed… thank you so much for you work on all this. it’s great that you started this blog. merry christmas to you and your family!!!

        • bourbourstamps

          What good news this is! I’m so happy for you and your family. Yes, it is hard to be out of work. I am still unable to retain a decent job. Your words said it all, persistence! I’ve read so many other complaint boards where families just gave up. Don’t! You are entitled to this money just as everyone else is. I appreciate your comments as I know it will be encouraging for others. What a Merry Christmas! That is why I started this blog. So much heartache when I first applied too! I’ll keep adding information as new information comes available. Thanks!

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