The sunshine state provides residents with beautiful weather and access to tropical thrills year-round. Although the weather may be nice, many Floridians struggle to make ends meet, as over 3 million people live below the poverty line. This figure hovers slightly above the national average. But, there are systems in place designed to help Floridians meet their needs. The temporary cash assistance program can help Florida residents navigate their way through a gauntlet of financial hurdles and work toward improving their future. Many factors can contribute to a problematic economic situation, with a majority of them being out of anyone’s control.
The Florida Temporary Cash Assistance program provides options for those who find themselves going through difficult circumstances.
Understanding how the benefits work is essential to utilizing them in the ways that help your household best.
Are you wondering how to access the Florida temporary cash assistance program? Here are the key things you need to know and how you can get started today.
Table of Contents
- How The Program Works
- What is Cash Assistance Used For?
- Qualifications For the Florida temporary cash assistance program
- Employment Rules
- Mandates for Children
- How Much You Can Get?
- Can You Lose Your Benefits?
- The Application Process
How The Program Works
We’ve all encountered financial trouble and needed a little extra help. The design of the Florida temporary cash assistance program (TCA) is to help those experiencing economic turmoil. The aim of the program is to help struggling families get on the path toward self-sufficiency.
The Florida temporary cash assistance program helps those families with children under the age of 18 years old keep their children at home while working toward self-sufficiency. Also, the TCA is designed help low-income families with
- Ending their dependency on government resources
- Reducing out-of-wedlock-pregnancies
- Vocational Training, On the Job Training
- Meeting basic necessities
What is Cash Assistance Used For?
If you’ve been having trouble with meeting basic needs, Florida’s TCA program may be able to help. The cash assistance program can help you with a number of day-to-day expenses, some of which may include
- Paper Goods
- Housing and Rent assistance
- Household cleaning products
Another surprising benefit of Florida’s TCA program is that benefits may also be used for costs associated with employment, like getting gas, and car maintenance.
Qualifications For the Florida temporary cash assistance program
There are several guidelines you must meet to qualify for the Florida TCA program. First, being a United States citizen or a qualified non resident has crucial implications for your application. Also, your household income must be around 185% of government poverty guidelines as a general rule, but this number can vary depending on where you live in the state. For example, 175% of the poverty guidelines in Hillsborough county in a 4-person household is 46,000.
Another financial qualification you must meet is to have less than $2,000 in countable assets.
Countable assets can be defined as
- Bank accounts
- Mutual Funds
- Educational Savings Accounts
If any of your countable assets add up past the $2,000 you may not be eligible for Florida’s TCA program.
Another guideline to keep in mind are the mandates surrounding employment for the TCA program. Florida’s TCA program requires most recipients to register with a workforce board to participate in work programs for maintaining benefit eligibility.
But there are some situations where exceptions are made, and one may still receive benefits despite outliers in their circumstances. Some exemptions may include
- Having children younger than 3 months old
- Receiving supplemental security income
- Caring for a disabled relative
- Those who are deemed not work eligible under federal guidelines
Mandates for Children
For the state of Florida, you must be 18 years old to be eligible for a TCA application.
One stipulation that serves as part of the process is that children between the ages of 6-18 may have to participate in Learnfare, a program that mandates children to regularly attend school and have parents be active participants in school conferences. It’s worth noting that children who regularly don’t attend school for unjustified reasons can have their family’s benefits revoked, so it’s crucial to maintain regular attendance. Also, if a parent or relative doesn’t actively participate in or schedule regular conferences with their children’s teacher(s) can lose their benefits deducted from the household’s monthly total.
Children in Florida whose parents receive temporary cash assistance may also be subject to Immunization requirements where parents of children under the age of 5 must submit up-to-date vaccination records. But, an exemption may be possible for children who have not been vaccinated for religious reasons.
Also, applicants must ensure that they are active participants in helping the state’s child support agency locate the parent who doesn’t live in the home. Cooperation with the agency ensures that the children can receive child support payments and help to address their essential needs.
How Much You Can Get?
One of the crucial questions applicants have surrounding TCA is the question of how much assistance they could qualify for.
The answer to this question depends on several factors.
First, the answer can vary based on how many people have children in the home. A general rule of thumb is that the TCA provides between 240 and $300 per child in the home.
A second factor is the ages of the children. Older children typically bring in more aid than younger children. Your household income also plays a role in how much cash assistance you may qualify for.
Can You Lose Your Benefits?
The Florida TCA has several guidelines that applicants must meet to qualify for and keep their benefits. The majority of guidelines center around maintaining steady work habits, making sure your children attend school regularly and cooperating with child support agencies. Most TCA cases have a shelf-life of 48 months before benefits end.
The Application Process
If you believe you’ve met all the requirements for TCA, then it’s time for you to apply. You can start your application by going to the Florida Department of Children and Families website. The application generally takes 5 days to be reviewed, at which point you receive a call for an interview.
If you’re pressed for time and need an immediate update, you can reach out to the Florida DCF directly by calling (850) 300-4323.
The Florida Temporary Cash Assistance Program can make a significant difference in the lives of those who need extra help. Although it is not designed for long-term use, the benefits of the TCA can help you buy the additional time to get on your feet while you take care of your needs.