JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Viewers contacted News4JAX looking for answers on Wednesday after Floridians began receiving $450 checks in the mail from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. They wanted to know: Is it a scam?
Nope. It’s real! The one-time payment is part of an initiative called “Hope Florida — A Pathway to Prosperity.”
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,” Casey DeSantis 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. "
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An announcement following her visit said, “$35.5 million in Governor DeSantis’ budget will support nearly 59,000 Florida families with a one-time payment of $450 per child, which includes foster families.” The money is from a budget that supports those served by child welfare.
“This one-time payment can be used for anything from buying diapers to fueling up at the pump,” the letter sent with the check reads. The message also reminds families of the back-to-school sales tax holiday from July 25 to Aug. 7 which comes ahead of the upcoming school year.
News4JAX Insiders said they want to know: Will I be receiving a check? How is the government deciding who gets the money? How do we know for sure which families are able to receive the checks? Can I apply to receive a check? What if I recently moved? How do I know if a check is headed my way?
According to DCF, you must fall into one of the eligible categories 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 TANF cash assistance
- Guardianship Assistance Program participants
The bottom line is not everyone is eligible for the checks. Unless you are in these categories above — and chosen by DCF — you won’t be getting one.
Families do not need to apply for this one-time payment and checks have been mailed directly to the recipients and should arrive within the next seven days.
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.”
Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland told News4JAX that putting money into the economy can increase what’s available to buy goods.
“People are concerned with the rising inflation and the government putting this money back into our pockets,” Holland said. “Let’s talk about this balance. Well, often, when we think about inflation, we think about the prices of goods, inflation is really related to the money supply. So when we talk about the government putting out money, it increases the money supply, which has an effect on the demand for products.”
When questions surrounding inflation came up, Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, said: “...the federal government causes inflation by deficit spending. Stimulus checks were part of that. By contrast, the budget surplus in Florida is at the state level and it’s already money in existence, we do not print money here. So- no, it doesn’t cause inflation.”
Holland said he doesn’t fully agree with what Pushaw said.
“Because whether you print it, or whether you release it, the key is you’re putting it into the economy,” Holland said. “It’s adding to the money supply, which is the key to inflation.”
State Representative Angie Nixon tweeted that the Governor cut millions in foster care programs with his veto power. News4JAX checked the list and saw over $4 million dollars cut from foster care and family service programs in the state. Examples include the Safer Children Coalition-Foster Youth Shelter Services and Family Support Services of North Florida.
In the budget, the Governor includes $133.9 million to give services to those served by the child welfare system – aiming at community-based services, foster parent support, and the Florida Safe Families Network.
We asked the Governor’s office how the checks compare to the number lost in veto cuts – they said: “The total state budget for foster care and child welfare programs has increased year over year. The fact that some line items requested by legislators were vetoed does not change that it increased overall.”
News4JAX wants to answer all of your questions regarding this payment. Let us know below if you have received this check, or what further details you would like to know about.
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