3,264 local residents get food stamps
By Carrie A. Mizell
More families in Gilchrist County are on food stamps than ever before, according to an annual report just released by the Florida Department of Children and Family (DCF).
A staggering 3,264 residents are now on food stamps in Gilchrist County. That is 19 percent of the county’s 17, 191 residents.
According to Steve White, ACCESS program administrator for DCF, Gilchrist County had 474 residents apply for and get food stamps between December 2009 and December 2010.
“That’s a 16.99 percent increase in one year, which is pretty high,” White said in a phone interview on Monday. “Interestingly enough, the cash caseload is actually down in Gilchrist County.”
According to White, DCF’s stringent requirements on temporary cash assistance, which include having school age children, have deterred many from applying.
In December 2009, 166 individuals in Gilchrist County had received temporary cash assistance, whereas in December 2010, 165 individuals had received temporary cash assistance from DCF.
According to White, there are now 2,861 residents of Gilchrist County now receiving Medicaid benefits. In December 2009, there were 2,746 residents of Gilchrist County receiving Medicaid benefits.
In order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, one must be a US national, citizen or permanent resident in need of health care/insurance assistance, who would be considered low income. One must also be either pregnant, have a child, or be responsible for children under the age of 19 to qualify.