TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Unemployed Floridians receiving food stamps will have another month of reprieve from looking for work as the state’s economy continues to reel from the coronavirus pandemic.
Those receiving food stamps will have their benefits guaranteed through August.
“You don’t need to go hungry, your kids don’t need to go hungry,” said Chad Poppell, Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which administers the SNAP program.
Poppell said the agency moved to suspend work search requirements for another month, as the pandemic has threatened some parts of the state with a second round of shutdowns.
“We felt it in the best interest to kind of push that decision off and give it more time to stabilize,” said Poppell.
The agency had begun phasing in the 80 hour per month work search requirements earlier this month, but a coalition of 52 organizations pleaded for an extension.
“It didn’t make sense for Florida to want to send out millions potentially of safety net participants who would have to go face to face out into the public...and just put themselves and their families at risk of contracting COVID-19 and passing it on to their community,” said Cindy Huddleston with the Florida Policy Institute.
The extension comes as unemployment claims continue to pile up.
More than 523,000 have filed since July 1st.
And Poppell said he believes there are many out there who could benefit that haven’t applied.
“1.2 million folks are new to SNAP, well we’ve got over 2 million folks on unemployment right now and so there could be some folks out there that don’t understand the services and the programs that we have available to them,” said Poppell.
A recent report found 11% of adults and 23% of children in Florida were experiencing hunger.
To view the full array of SNAP benefits, click here.
To apply for online click here.
And while the work search requirements aren’t required to collect SNAP benefits, DCF is still offering job search services.
Poppell said there are 240,000 job openings statewide.
You can go to CareerSourceFlorida.com for help finding a job.