Eligibility? Application? Arrival time? Here’s what to know about $450 checks for Florida families

Call the number below for payment, eligibility questions surrounding free money

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some Florida families are getting checks in the mail from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

On July 15, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that nearly 59,000 Florida families will receive a one-time payment of $450 per child. This one-time payment assists families who are being affected by rising inflation and preparing to send their children back to school.

News4JAX received information from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), the agency administering the program, on Wednesday.

RELATED: Not a scam: Receive a $450 check in the mail from Gov. DeSantis? Don’t toss it, cash it

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Who is eligible to receive the check?

In order to receive a check, Floridians must fall into one of the eligible categories below at the time enrolled populations were captured for this payment on July 1, 2022.

Eligible recipients include:

  • Foster parents
  • Relative caregivers
  • Non-relative caregivers
  • Families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance (Note: Eligibility is based on federal TANF requirements and the state’s TANF Plan.)
  • Guardianship Assistance Program participants

Florida also has the right to adjust some of the criteria so some needy families with children -- who don’t fall in the categories above -- may receive the benefit, Vanessa Brito, a community activist, told News4JAX. Brito said she received this information from Melinda Klamer with DCF. This does not apply to all families with children.

Do you have to apply to receive a check?

No. You don’t have to apply for this one-time payment and the checks are mailed directly to the recipients.

News4JAX was told those eligible would receive a check within the next seven days.

Who may I contact if I am eligible and feel like I should have received a check?

Melinda Klamer, customer support and resolution manager with DCF, said there are a few options for those who want to get questions answered.

“If an individual has an issue with the depositing/cashing of the check, they can call our payment vendor at 833-681-3438 to attempt to resolve,” Klamer said. “But for all other questions regarding eligibility in the program they can call the Customer Call Center at 850-300-4323 so their issue can be discussed and if needed sent through a review process.”

Graphics by: Vanessa Brito

How is the money from the governor’s budget broken up to help these families?

It will support nearly 59,000 Florida families and that includes foster families. First Lady Casey DeSantis held a roundtable discussion in Tampa on Friday and said that foster families, adoptive families, and single mothers are eligible for the checks.

“... You know, the governor signed his budget, and obviously we’re putting a lot into that,” she said. “Making sure that we’re doing everything we can on behalf of Florida families. ... So $35 million within that budget will then go to support our foster and adoptive families -- our single moms across the state -- so they will get a one-time payment of $450. "

We asked DCF why single mothers and fathers weren’t mentioned in the news release and how the agency chooses the family. We’re still waiting to hear back.

The American Rescue Plan Act created a $1 billion fund to assist needy families affected by the pandemic within the TANF program, according to the release. The one-time payments ensured that $35.5 million would be received by Florida families. Had these awards not been made, the funding would have otherwise reverted back to the federal government.

(Note: Eligibility is based on federal TANF requirements and the state’s TANF Plan.)

Is this the only effort the governor’s office has made to help foster families?

No. The Freedom First Budget gives $133.9 million for services for those in the child welfare system. It also has an increase of $300 per month to the child care subsidy for foster parents which covers the cost of early education and childcare.

We are still waiting to have a few questions answered by DCF. We will update this article with that information when it becomes available.

Useful Links: PEAF Program Guidance | FAQ on the PEAF Program | Title IV-grants to states for aid to dependent children

If you are a parent expecting to receive the $450 check from DCF, you can sign up for USPS Informed Delivery, Brito mentioned. It is a free service that notifies you of your daily mail with images every morning. Click here to sign up.

News4JAX called the DCF program on Thursday. The person we spoke with says they have a list of checks filled out — so they can address problems people may have.

Just a few reminders — if you get SNAP benefits, you must be enrolled in one of the other programs to receive the payment. Also, if you recently moved or think you should’ve received the payment — call the number for TANF.

Do you have a question you want to be answered? Let us know below.

About the Author:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.