To qualify for food stamps in Florida, you must meet strict income requirements based on the size of your household. This amount can differ for households comprised of the disabled, persons 60 or older or those in violation of food program rules. Your monthly household income must fall below the federal poverty limit, which can change each year.
Determining Household Members
When you apply for food stamps in Florida, the Department of Children and Families will take your household's total monthly income into account. However, before it can do this, DCF must first determine how many people are in your household. For food stamp purposes, this consists of everyone in your home who buys and cooks meals together. Other persons considered part of your household include married couples, children under 22 and their parents, and adults serving a parental role to minors in the home.
Total Monthly Income
Once DCF knows how many people are in your household, it determines your household's gross monthly income. This is money you and other members of your household receive before deductions are taken out, such as taxes and Social Security. Afterward, DCF then deducts certain allowable expenses from it, such as healthcare, housing and childcare costs, to come up with your household's net monthly income. These figures are then compared to the federal poverty level, or FPL, to determine whether you qualify for food stamps.
Percentage of Federal Poverty Level
To qualify for food stamps in Florida, your household's gross monthly income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and your net monthly income at or below 100 percent of the FPL. For example, if you had a four-person household in 2014, you qualified for food stamps if your household's total gross monthly income was $3,976 or less and total net monthly income was $1,988 or less, as these amounts were 200 and 100 percent of the FPL respectively. However, if your household consists only of persons who are disabled or at least 60 years old, your net monthly income is all that's used and it must be 100 percent or less of the FPL to qualify for food stamps.
Impact of Disqualification
Some people are ineligible for food stamps in Florida, including those who intentionally violated food program rules, do not participate in a work program, are evading a federal warrant or have a drug trafficking conviction. If a member of your household doesn't qualify for food stamps, your household's gross monthly income must be at or below 130 percent of the FPL and net monthly income at or below 100 percent of the FPL to qualify for food stamps.