COVID-19 Policies change over time as the situation changes. As of October 2020, there were 757,000 reported cases in Florida, contributing to over 16,000 deaths. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe, the Florida Department of Children and Families enacted some policies to curtail the virus’s spread.
Beyond the immediate family, the policies address how stores and business organizations should be run because of the pandemic. We can summarize the entire policies as follows:
#1. Storefronts and Lobbies COVID-19 Policies
As a precautionary measure, the Department restricted public access to all Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) storefronts and lobbies. However, you may still be able to make changes and check your benefits’ status by using the ACCESS Self-Service Portal.
If you have any questions or require some assistance, you can contact DCF’s agents from Monday through Friday, 7 am to 6 pm on 850-300-4323 or 1-866-762-2237 (TTY 1-800-955-8771).
#2. Online Purchasing Pilot
The DCF announced a program for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program enables SNAP recipients to buy groceries using an EBT card.
If you’re a SNAP participant, you’re automatically eligible for the program. Therefore, you won’t need to apply.
#3. Maximum Monthly Allocation
Additionally, the DCF increased the benefit amounts of all SNAP recipients. As such, all SNAP participants will receive the maximum monthly allotment based on the size of the household.
However, customers who are already getting the maximum monthly allotment would not get an increase. The increase was temporary and was to last from March to October. Nonetheless, there was a general increase that took effect from October 1st, 2020.
#4. Recertification Extension
Existing cash (TANF), food (SNAP), or medical (Medicaid) benefit recipients are generally required to recertify. This is to find out if they’re still eligible.
The Florida Department of Children and Families waived recertifications from April to August 2020
However, from September, the DCF reinstated recertifications. Regardless, Medicaid recipients remain eligible for as long as the public health emergency lasts.
#5. Work Requirements Waiver
Another critical policy was the suspension of work requirements from March to October. This allowed the citizens of Florida to focus on taking care of themselves and their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Florida Department of Children and Families maintained the Medicaid eligibility for recipients through till the end of the state of emergency. Therefore, all Medicaid recipients did not lose their eligibility throughout the state of emergency. Because of the COVID-19 emergency, DCF now allows up to 120 days after the Medicaid application is filed, to return all requested documents to DCF. Previously, the deadline was 60 days after the Medicaid application was filed.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) was established as a supplemental benefit. The program is for households with children who temporarily lost access to reduced-price or free school meals because of pandemic-related school closures.
Conclusion – COVID-19 Policies
As the fight against COVID-19 continues, some of these policies remain in place. However, some of them are no longer valid, as we’ve cited. To stay healthy and overcome the pandemic, ensure you stay safe, and prioritize your health.
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