November 27 update

DCF provided the following updated information:

"Phone interviews will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST, on December 2 and 3, toll free at 855-278-7136. Qualifying individuals who provided cellular phone numbers with their preregistration may also receive direct communication from DCF. 

Requirements to participate in a DSNAP phone interview on December 2 and 3:

  • Must have preregistered online by November 9, and
  • Must be head of household 60 years of age or older or disabled, and
  • Must have valid identification. Identity will be verified during the interview.

Individuals who meet the above criteria with last names beginning with A-L should call 855-278-7136 on Saturday, December 2. Individuals who meet the above criteria with last names beginning with M-Z should call 855-278-7136 on Sunday, December 3. Callers should have their Florida driver license or identification and social security number ready. Callers will be asked questions to verify identity."

Please note a social security number is not necessary, but if you have one it will expedite the process.


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Community organizations file lawsuit after Floridians denied access to food assistance
Lawyers ask for reasonable accommodations for disabled and vulnerable applicants to Disaster SNAP program

November 3, 2017

Miami, FL - The Miami Workers Center, New Florida Majority, and individuals with disabilities filed a class action lawsuit yesterday challenging the roll-out of disaster food assistance (D-SNAP) across the state of Florida. Almost two months after Hurricane Irma disrupted life for low-income and vulnerable residents, many eligible Floridians are still without food assistance.

After multiple requests for accommodations were denied, lawyers for the plaintiffs from the Health Rights Clinic at the University of Miami, Community Justice Project, and Florida Legal Services are asking a federal judge to keep the program open, implement best practices, and offer alternatives to those who cannot make it to application sites or stand in long lines. The Department of Children and Families (DCF), who is responsible for administering the program in Florida, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which funds and regulates the program, are among the defendants named in the lawsuit.

Florida’s implementation of the program has been fraught with problems.  In Broward, overwhelming turnout forced site closures just hours after opening. In Miami, there were reports of applicants fainting in line. In Jacksonville, lines reportedly formed by 3 A.M.. Applicants were forced to stand in hours-long lines in the sweltering heat, regardless of age or ability. DCF demanded in-person interviews, refusing to request waivers to conduct telephone interviews or operate out of community centers, instead launching costly mass sign ups as residents tried to get back on their feet. Florida already allows telephone interviews for regular food stamp applicants.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Taveras, (305) 721-9661, elizabeth@theworkerscenter.org
Renee Mowatt, (407) 575 - 3094 , press@newfloridamajority.org

 
 

NOVEMBER 3 UPDATE

Less than a day after the lawsuit was filed, DCF responded to the community demand for telephone interviews for the D-SNAP program by requesting a federal waiver. Elderly and disabled applicants unable to make it to in-person registration events may be able to apply by phone on November 11-12. The fight continues for full accesibility. 

NOVEMBER 20 UPDATE

After a federal court hearing on the issue, USDA approved DCF's request for a waiver to allow some Floridians with disabilities will be able to apply for food assistance by phone Dec 2 & 3. 

To be eligible you:

  • Must have preregistered online by November 9, and
  • Must be head of household 60 years of age or older or disabled, and
  • Must have valid identification. Identity will be verified during the interview.

Others who weren't able to pre-register are still left out. We will continue the fight for access and equity with our partners!


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