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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The state of Florida started sending checks to families in the mail this week. The checks themselves, $450 one-time payments per child, went to 59,000 Florida families. Intended to help families “being affected by rising inflation” and getting ready for children to go back to school, the way the checks’ recipients were chosen was, at first, unknown.
According to state officials, after confirming the checks were real, the method for choosing the families for assistance was announced by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Funding was sent out to the 59,000 families based on if they receive assistance from the state already.
“The American Rescue Plan Act created a $1 billion fund to assist needy families affected by the pandemic within the TANF program. The one-time payments ensured that $35.5 million would be received by Florida families,” DCF said about how families were selected to receive the payments. “Had these awards not been made, the funding would have otherwise reverted back to the federal government. Eligibility is based on federal TANF requirements and the state’s TANF Plan.”
TANF is a welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which is funded by federal dollars and administered by the state of Florida through DCF. The department similarly administers SNAP benefits, the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program.
The department said the residents chosen to receive the funds “were captured for this payment on July 1, 2022” from a set of state assistance data.
According to DCF, eligible recipients included:
- Foster Parents
- Relative Caregivers
- Non-relative Caregivers
- Families receiving TANF cash assistance
- Guardianship Assistance Program participants
Families selected did not apply to receive the funding, DCF said. Instead, they were chosen directly from the database query by state officials. WFLA.com is waiting for further data from DCF showing the number of families from each category that received the one-time payments.
While direct data on how the different categories broke down in terms of proportion for the 59,000 families chosen, a DCF spokesperson said there was likely crossover in the categories. For example, the most recent TANF data, provided by DCF, showed 42,467 families received benefits from the program in June, a 7% increase from the month before. July numbers are not yet available.
How families chosen to get $450 per child checks, Florida officials explain eligibility
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