The Food Assistance Program provides Food Assistance for Low Income People in Florida (SUNCAP). One of its goals is for people to buy healthy food.
Food assistance is directed at households (groups of individuals who live together and buy and prepare food together). If your household meets the Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility rules, the amount of benefits you receive depends on the number of people in your household and how much money they have left after subtracting certain expenses.
What is SUNCAP (Food Assistance for Low Income People in Florida)?
The SUNCAP program is a special food assistance program for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You may be eligible to receive food assistance benefits through the SUNCAP Program without the need for any additional application, paperwork or interview.
If you already receive food assistance benefits in the regular Food Assistance Program, you may be automatically included in the SUNCAP Program when you become eligible for SSI.
If your food assistance benefits are reduced due to SUNCAP, you can choose to continue receiving your food assistance benefits under the regular Food Assistance Program.
Food Assistance for Low Income People in Florida (SUNCAP)
Individuals must pass all eligibility rules to get food assistance benefits SUNCAP.
Some of the eligibility rules are:
- Identity: Applicants must prove that they are the person they say they are, to do so they must present valid identity documents.
- Labor rules: Healthy adults, ages 18-50, who do not have dependent children or are not pregnant, can only receive food assistance benefits for 3 months in a 3-year period if they are not working or participating in a work or workfare.
- Healthy adults, ages 18-50, who do not have dependent children or are not pregnant, can only get food assistance benefits for 3 months in a 3-year period if they are not working or participating in a work program or employment assistance.
- Income and deductions: Most households must have a gross income limit of less than or equal to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Households with a member disqualified for breaking Food Assistance Program rules, felony drug trafficking, fleeing a felony arrest warrant, or failure to participate in a work program must have a lower gross income or equal to 130% of the FPL. Households with a disqualified member must have a net income of less than 100% of the FPL. Households with people age 60 or older, or disabled, only need to meet the net monthly income limit. Some household expenses may be subtracted from the total monthly income in the food assistance budget. Housing expenses, dependent care, medical expenses, child support paid, utility deductions, and earned income deduction can be subtracted from the budget.
- Home: Individuals must live in the state of Florida.
- Citizenship: Individuals must be United States citizens or have qualified non-citizen status.
- Social Security Number (SSN): Applicants must provide a social security number or proof that they have applied.
- Child Support Cooperation: The applicant must cooperate with the state child support enforcement agency to prove a child’s legal relationship to his or her parent and to get the court to order child support.
- Assets: Most households can have assets such as vehicles, bank accounts, or property and still get low-income food assistance in Florida. Households with a disqualified member must meet an asset limit of $2,250 or $3,250 as of October 1, 2014 (if the household has an elderly or disabled member).
- Change report: Households must report when total monthly gross income exceeds 130% of the Federal Poverty Level for household size and when able-bodied adult work hours fall below 20 hours per week when averaged monthly. The household must report these changes within 10 days after the end of the month of the change.
Reasons for ineligibility
People convicted of drug trafficking, fleeing a felony warrant, breaking Food Assistance Program rules on purpose, non-citizens who are not qualified, and some unqualified college or university students are entitled to receive food assistance benefits.
Food you can buy with food assistance benefits
Households can use food assistance benefits to buy: breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, and plants and seeds to grow food for your home. Households may not use food assistance benefits to purchase non-food items such as pet food, soaps, paper products, household supplies, personal care items, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, vitamins, medications, food to eat at the store or hot foods.