You’ve just applied for Florida Food Stamps, and now the wait begins. What next? Being new to the system can be especially frightening. Just knowing that you have a family that relies on you for basic needs, adds a whole new dimension to fear. You have little time to plan your own new course because others depend on you. Check out helpful tips below making life a bit easier.
If you submitted your eligibility online, you will receive a letter in 7 – 10 days. It states clearly at the top Notice of Case Action. Don’t be unsettled by this term. This letter merely states that they received your application, and require more information. Do understand, that you may receive several of these letters before you are approved. You are NOT the first person that will not receive financial aid immediately. Don’t give up! The approval process can take 15 -30 days. Furthermore, f they are behind, it could take up to 45 days. Regretfully, this is not helpful when you are running out of food.
In the middle of the letter (in complete caps) is the information requested. Find this information immediately! You can mail it to the above address or FAX it. If your letter states you must see a child support official, do so quickly or you will be denied. Being timely is important, remember you have a time frame to complete this information, and it is usually less than a week. The final date of information acceptance is ALWAYS in this letter. Failure to comply on this date will cause denial of benefits.
Log onto: My Access, and using your new case number, open up an account. You will be able to view information they receive. You won’t see much in denial or eligibility, but you can keep a track of the information they receive. I chose to FAX information as it is usually recorded the following day.
Then the waiting game begins. Do not look into the “verification needed” section too much. This information is definitely an overload. Being computer savvy, I sent in everything but the kitchen sink – according to “verification needed”. This didn’t help my case any, and I was still missing information requested on DCF’s letters. Items that I was positive I sent in initially.
Don’t be surprised if you receive another letter requiring more information. Keep sending in this information until they stop sending you these letters. Soon you will receive a letter of determination. Don’t be surprised if you are denied despite your income. You did the prescreening, you know you are eligible, it is time to take a stand! Locate your nearest DCF Food Stamps Assistant office and make a visit your top priority. They open at 8 a.m. Don’t come then, be there at 7:30 a.m., standing at the front door to be the first in line for the “phones”. Realize at this point the call center is useless. You will spend hours on the phone trying to get through. Don’t put your self through this anguish.
There are no more caseworkers locally. They are all in Jacksonville at this point, so you must talk to a representative on the phone. State your case number, ask why you are denied, and ask for your case to be reopened. Ask the case worker why you were denied, and what you can do to remedy this. Be sure to ask if this is all they need to reopen your case. Ask them to explain the EXACT steps you need to take to submit this information. Many have been denied on simple technicalities. Don’t assume you know what is being stated. There is a system in place here that most of can’t even begin to comprehend.
You’ll be upset to hear this will take an additional 15-30 days. But, being here reading this information, will make acceptance a bit easier.