If you are looking for any assistance programs available in the state of Florida, you have come to the right place. Whether you are a single mother struggling to provide for your children or a low income family there are many programs that could help you. The State of Florida has a population of 20 million with a poverty rate of 16.5%. The poverty rate for children is even higher as 1 out every 4 children in Florida live in poverty. This guide will list and explain all the assistance programs available in Florida.
Financial Assistance Programs in Florida
There are some programs in place for those who are really struggling financially, if you are of really low income you will get some help
Florida Temporary Cash Assistance Program
This program provides cash assistance relief to low income families with children under the age of 18. The program also helps parents become more financial dependant by assisting and promoting job training, preparation and help to help find better employment opportunities.
To be eligible for the cash assistance program you must be a legal resident of Florida, and be considered that of low income. The amount of money you will receive depends primarily on your income and family size. To begin the application process and to learn more please click here.
Florida Re-Employment Assistance (Insurance) Program
The Florida Re-Employment Assistance program is Florida’s unemployment insurance program which provides financial assistance to those who lose their job through no fault of their own. The amounts you are entitled to depend on a percentage of the amount you made with your last employer.
To qualify, you must have worked in Florida in the past 12 to 18 months and must be able, available, and actively looking for work when you are receiving benefits. To begin the application process please click here.
Food Assistance Programs in Florida
No one should have to go hungry and struggle to support their family with enough food. Fortunately there are some great programs available.
Florida Food Assistance Program
The Florida food assistance program assists low income families including single mothers to help purchases nutritious food for their families. You can buy a variety of different foods such as breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish poultry and more. You can not buy things such as pet food, medicines, vitamins, alcohol and tobacco.
The benefits are received in the form a card called the Access Florida Electronic Transfer Benefits (EBT card) card. The card works just like a debit card and more funds are transferred onto the cards on a monthly basis. To be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of the state of Florida and meet specific income requirements. For a list of updated Florida 2016 income requirements please click here. You can apply for the Florida Food Assistance Program, on the My Florida website by clicking here.
The SUNCAP program is also a food assistance program designed specifically for individuals who are currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you already receive SSI you can possibly began to receive the food assistance without doing any additional paperwork or interviews.
Florida School Breakfast and Lunch Program
This program provides either low cost, or free breakfasts’ and lunches to school children every school day. Some school might also offer after school snacks as well. In order to be eligible for this program you must be a resident of Florida and be of low income. For example, a family of 3 would have to have an income of $37,100 or lower. To apply you must contact your child’s school. For the full income guideline and for a list of schools in Florida please click here.
Florida Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
This program provides free nutritious, supplemental foods, nutrition education and even health care referrals to pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income. The foods provided are rich inked ingredients that are important for postpartum women and young growing children.
In Florida, you will receive a WIC electronic benefits transfer card (EBT) that is preloaded with funds that you will use when checking out at the store with your food. The card is reloaded with funds on a monthly basis.
In order to qualify for this program, you must meet specific annual income requirements based on your household size. For example, a household of 3 would have to have an annual income of $37,167 or lower in order to be eligible. To apply for WIC you must contact your local WIC office which can be found by entering your location or by calling 1-800-342-3556.
Medical Assistance in Florida
Medicaid provides free health care services to low income families across the state of Florida. It covers the cost of a variety of health related expenses such as:
- doctor’s visits
- prescription drugs
- lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
- hospital care
- eye care
- dental care
You look at this list of services that Medicaid in Florida covers.
Medicaid eligibility in Florida is based on your income and has to be a certain percentage of the Federal Poverty Limit, which depends on the age group you belong to. Florida can be one of the most difficult states to qualify for Medicaid. You can use this useful resource that allows you to enter you zip code, followed by financial information to see if you are eligible for Medicaid.
Florida KidCare Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
The Florida KidCareCHIP program is basically Medicaid for children with the difference being the income levels required. It is easier for your children to qualify for CHIP as the income limits are lower. CHIP provides the same services that are provided under Medicaid that you can seen in the list above. To learn more and to apply please click here.
Unfortunately Florida is not one of the states that has adopted Medicaid expansion also known as ‘Obama Care’. Medicaid expansion allows people that are above the income limits to receive regular Medicaid, which eliminated the gap of people not qualifying for medical coverage. However, there are many advocates across the state pushing for Florida to adopt the Affordable Care Act, making it easier for Florida residents to qualify Medicaid.
Child Care Assistance in Florida
Florida School Readiness Program
The program provides financial assistance to low income single parents and families for early child care and education. This program helps working families afford child care so the parents can continue working. To learn more check out the Florida School Readiness webpage.
Florida Head Start Program
This program will provide a learning environment and supervision for children ages 0-5 to help enhance their emotional, cognitive, and social development. This program is only available to low income families. You are eligible based on your household income compared to how many people live in your household. To look at the income limits and to learn more check out the Florida Head Start webpage.
Housing Assistance In Florida
There are many housing assistance programs available, especially for those who have trouble making their rent payments. If you have trouble making your rent there are definitely some programs that can help you out.
Florida Low Income Public Housing Program
This program will allow Florida residents to receive reduced rent payments in dwellings owned by the local Housing Agencies, whether it be an apartment, single houses or condos. The State of Florida provides funding to local housing agencies (HAs).These local housing agencies will then provide the funds to low income families or single parents to ensure they safe and sanitary housing with rent payments that they can afford to pay. The eligibility for these programs is based on income limits set by Florida.
In order to apply you must contact your local Housing Agency. This list of Florida Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across the state of Florida. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.
The amount of rent you will pay is based on something called the Total Tennant Payment, which is based on your entire family’s anticipated annual income less any deductions. You can stay in the public housing as long as you comply with your lease, however the housing agency will re evaluate your income to determine if you are still in need of public housing.
Florida Housing Choice Voucher Program
This program is very similar to the Low Income Public Housing Program as your local Housing Agency will guide you throughout the entire process. This program allows low income single parents and families the ability to receive reduced rent payments for safe and sanitary housing. This program provides direct payments to your landlord, which pays a good portion of your rent payment with you paying the remaining portion of the rent. Many times you will only have to pay 30% to 40% of your total rent payment. You can use this list of Florida Housing Agencies to contact the agency in your location.
Florida Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
This program provides financial assistance by helping with the costs of utility bills (mainly air conditioning bills) to low income Florida residents. It is hot year round in Florida which results in some very high energy bills which can be difficult for low income single parents and families to be able to pay. To qualify for this program you must be considered low income. In Florida it depends on the level of funding available in the specific county that you live in. In most areas across the state you will be able to receive the financial assistance three times a year, and not on a monthly basis. To view the income guidelines and to apply please click here.
Florida Weatherization Assistance Program
This program goes hand in hand with the Low income Energy Assistance program explained above. This program focuses more on repairing or adding things to your house to make it better suited for certain conditions. This program will focus on thing such as weather stripping, insulation, replacing air conditioning units etc. To qualify for this program you must be of low income, however the income limits are higher then the Low Income Energy program. For a look at the income limits and to learn more please click here.
Florida Housing First Time Home Buyers Program
This useful program assists first time homebuyers to receive down payment assistance for those who cannot afford to make the down payment needed to be able to purchase their first home. This program also assists in assuring first time home buyers receive steady low interest rates. To qualify for this program yo will have to have qualified for a mortgage in Florida and have a qualifying FICO score. To learn more and to apply, enter your area of the state to see the programs available.
Florida State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP)
The Florida housing department provides assistance for low income families that help with home repair, replacement, down payment assistance and rental housing assistance. The eligibility of this program depends on your income. To learn more about this program please contact the local SHIP administrator in your county.
Transportation Assistance In Florida
Getting around in big cities throughout Florida can be expensive, especially if you do not have a car. There are some other options for you.
Free Medical Transportation in Florida
The state of Florida has a variety of free medical transportation programs available. The transportation will drive you to your doctors appointments, tests and treatments you might have. This transportation resource has a listing of all the medical transportation services available in Florida.
There are two driving services that work like a taxi service, however ordinary people drive you where you need to go in their own vehicles. This results in a lot of cheaper cab fares. Check out uber.com and lyft.com.
Carpooling with friends and colleagues can really save you money if you alternate turns driving. Network with people around you to set something up
Legal Assistance in Florida
The simplest legal advice can be quite expensive as lawyers charge ridiculous prices for any legal service. Fortunately, the state of Florida has some services that provide free legal advice for low income individuals and families.
Florida Law Help Organization
This organization features a large database of discounted or free legal help that is available throughout the state of Florida in a variety of subjects. Most of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and much more. There is no legal assistance when it comes to personal criminal charges you could be facing. Check out FloridaLawHelp.org for a legal aid directory as well as information and advice in many different legal subjects.
Local Legal Services Aid Commission
If you have a legal/civil problem and cannot afford to the expensive fees with a private lawyer, you can get access to low cost or free legal services if you are of low income through local legal aid services. This database from the Florida Courts website provides a directory of low cost or free legal services in your area you can contact.
If you need assistance there is most likely a program in Florida that can at least offer some assistance to help make things easier for you. This is especially the case if you are having trouble supporting your children and providing them with things they need to live a normal childhood. There is a program that exists that will help you get through any tough times you are having.
Extra Links and Resources
Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers
Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state