by Brittany Benner, Capital Bureau
TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Good news for food stamp customers: Florida's Department of Children and Families is expanding online services with ACCESS Florida.
Now clients can:
* check the status of their application online
* review personal documents
* see how many benefits they qualify for
* keep tabs on upcoming appointments
"I think you're gonna find that people that's a lot quicker, it's a lot more customer-friendly, and it will help us to manage the kind of call volume we have right now," said DCF Secretary George Sheldon.
DCF officials hope increasing online services will help reduce the record number of inquiries and phone calls.
"What we're trying to do is make this as easy as possible because the numbers we're dealing with--quite frankly--are astronomical," said Sheldon.
Records indicate the number of food stamp usage increased 45% over the past year and a half. Officials told us Tuesday morning that the number of calls jumped from 1.6 million in September to 3 million last month.
"These are more than just numbers, these are families, these are children, these are our fellow Floridians in need and we must do everything we can to make their lives better," said Governor Charlie Crist.
Clients can still call local ACCESS facilities but officials urge customers to use the online services. They reminded us that those services are available 24 / 7.
CLICK HERE for the ACCESS Florida website.
First Coast News