Florida Food Stamps Eligibility (2021-2022)
If you are struggling to meet your basic needs, there is help available to you. The Florida Food Assistance Program provides food assistance help to eligible low-income households. If you want to know if you qualify for food stamp benefits in Florida, this article will provide you with the Florida Food Stamps Eligibility Guidelines for fiscal year 2022.
This article will cover:
- Food Stamps Florida Eligibility Requirements
- Florida Food Stamps Gross and Net Income Limit
- How Much You Could Receive in Food Stamps FL
- Florida Food Stamps Work Requirements
- How to Apply for Florida Food Stamps
Food Stamps FL
Food Assistance benefits are intended to supplement other household income and may only be used to purchase food. If you meet the program eligibility guidelines, you will get a special debit card (called an EBT Card). The EBT card is loaded monthly with the money you qualify for. You can then use the card to purchase food at grocery and other approved locations. The amount of money a household gets may depend on three things:
- household income from all sources (earned and unearned) such as money you get from a job, Social Security, SSI, or interest
- how many people live in your household
- where you live
If you want to apply for Florida Food Stamps, you have to make sure you qualify and are eligible. There are strict eligibility requirements that you must follow to apply for Food Assistance. In this article, we will discuss the guidelines for qualifying for assistance.
Florida Food Stamps Eligibility Guidelines
To be eligible for the Florida Food Stamp Program, you have to meet the eligibility requirements established by the USDA.
In order to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) you must first meet a certain criteria.
Do I qualify for Florida Food Stamps?
To qualify for the Florida Food Assistance Program, you must:
- Be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Non-Citizen
- Live in the state of Florida
- Meet the SNAP Income Limit
In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, your household must also meet the three income and resources tests.
Income is the most important requirement when it comes to qualifying for Florida food stamps.
The three tests include your household’s gross monthly income, net income, and assets.
Gross Monthly Income — is your household’s total income before any deductions. This includes money earned from work and other assistance such as unemployment, Social Security and child support.
Net Income — is your household’s total income after all allowable deductions.
Assets — is your household’s total resources that are considered available to purchase food, such as bank accounts and cash.
To learn more about each of the three SNAP eligibility tests including how to calculate them for your household, continue reading below.
Florida Food Stamps Requirements for 2021-2022
To help determine if you are eligible for Food Stamps in Florida, we breakdown each of the three SNAP eligibility tests for you below.
Test 1 – Gross Income Test
The first test you must meet is the gross monthly income test. This is a household’s income before any allowable deductions are applied.
The USDA requires that a household’s income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line.
In fiscal year 2022, the poverty line amount for an individual is $1,073. Therefore for food stamps application, 130 percent of that level is $1,396. An individual applying for food stamps must, therefore, have a gross monthly income of $1,396 or below to qualify.
For a family of three, the poverty line is $1,830 a month. Therefore, 130 percent of that is $2,379 a month, or about $28,550 a year. The poverty level is higher for bigger families and lower for smaller families.
How to Calculate Gross Income
Use the example provided below to help you calculate your household’s gross monthly income.
|How to Calculate Gross Income for Food Stamps|
|Gross Income Calculation:||Example:|
|Determine household size . . .||4 people with no elderly or disabled members.|
|Add gross monthly income . . .||
$1,500 earned income + $550 social security = $2,050 gross income.
|If gross monthly income is less than the limit for household size, determine net income.||
$2,050 is less than the $2,871 allowed for a 4-person household, so determine net income.
FL SNAP Gross Income Limit for 2021-2022
Once you have calculated your household’s gross income, use the chart below to determine if it meets the income limit for Florida food stamp benefits.
|Florida SNAP Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2022|
|Effective October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022|
Monthly Gross Income (130% of Federal Poverty Level)
|Each Additional Household Member:||+$492|
Test 2 – Net Income Test
The Net Income, or household income after deductions are applied, must be at or below the poverty line for your household size.
To find out how to calculate your net income with the allowable deductions, continue reading below.
Food Stamps Allowable Deductions
Certain deductions are allowable to be taken from the gross income to arrive at the net income amount.
The following deductions are allowed for all households depending on the living situation and expenses:
- 20 percent deduction from earned income to account for work-related expenses and payroll taxes.
- A standard deduction based on household size (see below) to account for basic unavoidable costs.
- Dependent care deduction for out-of-pocket child care or when needed for work, training, or education.
- Child support deduction for any legally obligated child support that a member of the household pays.
- Medical expense deduction for elderly or disabled household members that have incurred out-of-pocket medical expenses greater than $35 a month.
- Homeless household shelter deduction of $159.73.
- Excess shelter deduction for households with a shelter cost that exceed more than half of the household’s income. This deduction is uncapped for households with an elderly or disabled member. However, for all other households, this deduction is capped at $597 per month.
Once you have subtracted all eligible deductions from your household gross income, this will give you your monthly net income.
SNAP Standard Deduction
The food stamps standard deduction varies based on your household size and location. Please use the chart provided below to find the standard deduction amount for your household.
|SNAP Standard Deductions for Fiscal Year 2022|
|Effective October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022|
|Household Size||Standard Deduction|
|48 States & D.C.||Alaska||Guam||Hawaii||Virgin Islands|
How to Calculate Net Income
Use the example provided below to help you calculate your household’s net monthly income based on 4-person household with a $2,050 gross income.
|How to Calculate SNAP Net Income|
|Net Income Calculation:||Example for a 4-person household:|
|Subtract 20% earned income deduction…||
$2,050 gross income
$1,500 earned income x 20% = $300. $2,050 – $300 = $1,750
|Subtract standard deduction…||
$1,750 – $184 standard deduction for a 4-person household = $1,566
|Subtract dependent care deduction…||$1,569 – $362 dependent care = $1,204|
|Subtract child support deduction…||$0|
|Subtract medical costs over $35 for elderly and disabled…||$0|
|Excess shelter deduction…||See below|
|Determine half of adjusted income…||$1,204 adjusted income/2 = $602|
|Determine if shelter costs are more than half of adjusted income…||
$700 total shelter – $602 (half of income) = $98 excess shelter cost
|Subtract excess amount, but not more than the limit, from adjusted income…||$1,204 – $98 = $1,106 net monthly income|
|Apply the net income test…||
Since $1,106 is less than $2,209 allowed for a 4-person household, this household has met the income test.
What Counts As Income?
For your SNAP application, cash from all sources will count towards your income limit including:
- Earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted)
- Unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support are all counted towards your income for food stamps purposes.
SNAP Net Income Limit for 2021-2022
Once you have calculated your household’s net income, use the chart below to determine if your household meets the food stamps income limit for 2021-2022.
|SNAP Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2022|
|Effective October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022|
|Household Size||Monthly Net Income (100% of Federal Poverty Level)|
|Each Additional Household Member:||+$379|
For more information on the Florida Food Stamps income requirements, check out out complete article on the SNAP Income Limits for 2021-2022.
Test 3 – Assets Test
The final test to determine if you’re eligible for food stamp benefits is the assets test. This test determines if your total household assets fall below the acceptable limit.
Households with a member who is elderly (age 60 or older) or disabled, must have assets or countable resources of $3,750 or less.
Households without an elderly or disabled member, must have assets of $2,500 or less.
What counts as an Asset?
For your application, resources that could be available to the household to purchase food are counted towards your asset limit.
- Bank accounts
- Real estate other than your home
- Income you earn from assets (like interest earned on savings and dividends you receive).
What doesn’t count as an asset?
Certain items do not count as an asset. These are typically resources that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings*.
*Please note that withdrawals from these accounts may count as either income or resources depending on how often they occur.
Additionally, most automobiles do not count as an asset. However, there are special rules around vehicles. To learn more about this, continue reading below.
Do vehicles count towards as an asset for Food Stamps?
While most vehicles do not count towards the food stamps resources limit, this varies based on the state you live in.
In Florida, the state is responsible for determining how vehicles count towards the household resource limit.
Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are:
- Used for income-producing purposes (e.g., taxi, truck or delivery vehicle)
- Annually producing income consistent with their fair market value
- Needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute)
- Used as the home
- Needed to transport a physically disabled household member
- Needed to carry most of the household’s fuel or water
- If the sale of the vehicle would result in less than $1,500.
For non-excluded licensed vehicles with a fair market value over $4,650, they will count as a resource.
In addition, licensed vehicles are also subject to an equity test, which is the fair market value less any amount owed on the vehicle.
The following vehicles are excluded from the equity test:
- One vehicle per adult household member.
- Any other vehicle used by a household member under 18 to drive to work, school, job training, or to look for work.
- For vehicles with both a fair market value over $4,650 and an equity value, the greater of the two amounts is counted as a resource.
Additionally, the equity value of unlicensed vehicles generally counts as a resource, with some exceptions.
Who is not eligible for Food Stamps in Florida?
Some Florida households may not be eligible for SNAP benefits regardless of their income or assets. These people include:
- All unauthorized immigrants
- Students attending college more than half time
- Lawfully present immigrants
- Individuals who are on strike
Unemployed adults without children in the home who do not have disabilities are limited to three months of SNAP benefits every three years in many areas of the country, and states have broad authority to extend work requirements to many other SNAP households.
For more information on this, please refer to the Food Stamps Work Requirements listed below.
FL Food Stamps Work Requirements
If you Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) – meaning you are an individual age 18 through 49 who does not live with a child under 18 and is fit for work – then you must comply with the work requirements to continue receiving food stamps.
The rules state that ABAWDs can only get food stamp benefits for 3 months in 3 years unless they meet certain special work requirements or are excused.
However, there are exceptions to the 3-month limit. If you are an ABAWD, you may be exempted from the time limit work requirements if you:
- Work an average of at least 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized
- Participate 20 hours per week in an approved employment and training program; or
- Participate in community service by volunteering at a nonprofit organization.
You may be exempt from meeting work requirements if you meet any of the following
- Are physically or mentally unable to work 20 hours a week.
- Receive Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance due to disability or blindness, or receives Supplemental Security Income or State Disability Assistance.
- Receive or are an applicant for unemployment benefits.
- Participate in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program.
- Attend training or college at least half-time and meet the student eligibility criteria to receive food assistance.
- Care for an incapacitated person or a child under age 6.
- Are pregnant.
- Are a victim of domestic violence.
- Reside in a household with a child under age 18.
To learn more about the work requirements for Florida food stamps, check out the Florida DCF website for more information.
How much will I receive in Florida Food Stamps?
The amount of Florida food stamp benefits you will receive depends on your household income and size.
The table below shows the maximum amount you could receive depending on the number of people in your household.
|Maximum Florida SNAP Benefit Amount by Household Size for 2021-2022|
|Effective October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022|
|Household Size:||Maximum SNAP Benefit Allotment:|
|Each Additional Household Member:||+$188|
To get an accurate count of exactly how much you can expect in SNAP EBT benefits each month, check out our Florida Food Stamp Calculator.
Apply for FL Food Stamps
If you have reviewed the Florida Food Stamps Eligibility Guidelines and believe you may qualify for EBT benefits, the next step is to submit your Florida SNAP application.
To apply for Florida food stamps, there a three ways you can submit your FL SNAP Application – online, in-person, and by mail.
Option 1 – Apply Online
You can apply for Florida food stamps online through the ACCESS Florida online application.
Option 2 – Apply In-Person
You can apply for Florida food assistance in-person at your local Department of Children and Families (DCF) office.
Option 3 – Apply By Mail
Additionally, you can apply for food stamps FL by mail. To do so, print out and complete the Florida SNAP Application. Once complete, mail it into your local Florida DCF office.
Click here to download the Florida Food Stamps SNAP Application.
Click here to find the DCF office mailing address in your county.
For more help on how to apply for FL food stamps, follow our step-by-step instructions here.
Documents You Need to Apply for FL SNAP
Here are the documents you will need to apply for food stamps:
- Citizenship verification
- Government-issued ID for proof of identity and state residency
- Proof of Income (W-2 or paystubs)
- Proof of Expenses (utility bills, etc.)
- Disability Approval Letter (if applicable)
- Alien or Citizenship Documentation
For proof of citizenship, you will need to present one of the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Military service records
- US Passport
- Naturalization Certificate
- Permanent resident card/Green card
What Happens After You Apply
After you apply for food stamps Florida, you must complete an interview with a representative at the DCF.
Your interview my be over the phone or face-to-face. You will receive a letter in the mail with more information regarding your food stamps interview.
If you are elderly or physically unable to travel for a face-to-face interview, you can apply for a waiver, which is granted on a case by case basis based on hardship.
If your waiver request is granted, the face-to-face interview will be replaced with a phone interview.
During the interview, and you will be required to provide verification of your income and expenses.
How long will it take to receive Florida Food Stamp benefits?
If your Florida SNAP Application is approved, you will start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submit your application.
In addition, once you are approved for Florida food stamp benefits, you will receive an EBT Card in the mail. An EBT Card, also know as an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card is similar to a bank debit card.
Your Florida EBT Card will be used to access your monthly food stamp benefits at grocery stores and online retailers. To learn more about the Florida EBT Card, check out our FAQ Page here.
How Long Can I Be on Food Stamps?
There are no limits to how long you can get food stamps if you have children/dependents living in your household or are under age 18 or over age 50.
Foods You Can Buy With EBT Florida
- Bread and cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats, fish, and poultry
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants to grow and produce food for the household to eat
What you CANNOT buy with the Florida EBT
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
- Pet food, soaps, paper products, or household supplies
- Vitamins and other medicines
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot Foods
For a complete list of all the SNAP EBT Items you can and cannot buy with your Florida food stamps, read our complete article here.
It is very important that you only buy the foods allowed under the Food Stamp program. Engaging in any illegal use of the EBT card may cause you to lose your benefits.
Additionally, once your benefits are revoked, you will never be allowed on the program or be eligible for food stamps again.
Do You Need Benefits Sooner?
If you are facing a life-threatening situation and need immediate help with food, there is assistance available to you. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides Florida residents with immediate access to nutritious meals.
Help is available at participating Florida food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding sites.
To learn more and find a location offering TEFAP near you, click here.
Food Stamps Eligibility Questions
We hope this article on the Florida Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements for 2021-2022 was helpful to you!
If you have additional questions about how to qualify for food stamp benefits in Florida or submit your SNAP application, please let us know in the comments section below. We are happy to help answer any additional questions you have.
In the meantime, check out our other articles on Florida food stamps:
Florida Food Stamps Income Limit for 2021-2022
SNAP EBT Calculator – Find out how much you’ll receive
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Florida
Florida EBT Card Discounts & Freebies
What Fast Food Restaurants take EBT in Florida?