April 15, 2019

The State Legislature is Trying to Make Florida's Neediest Jump More Hurdles to Get Even Modest Government Help [Florida Phoenix]

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Florida Phoenix writes:

“About 14 percent of Floridians live in poverty. Many of those 2.9 million residents rely on government programs to help them meet daily needs like visiting a doctor, paying rent or buying gas.

But Florida has never been overly generous in helping the poor. In fact, critics call the state stingy when it comes to programs like Medicaid, which provides health care for the state’s poor and disabled residents.

Non-disabled adults without dependent children, no matter how poor, can’t qualify for Medicaid. Only five states make it harder than Florida for working parents to qualify, according to the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]. If a family of three makes more than $7,038 a year, the parents won’t receive Medicaid support.

Despite the hardship that the neediest face, Florida is among just 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. If the state did expand Medicaid, more than 700,000 poor Floridians could gain needed health coverage.

The Republican-led Florida Legislature resists expanding Medicaid to cover more needy residents year after year. And this year, state lawmakers are advancing proposals to make it even harder for Floridians to qualify for programs like Medicaid and a temporary cash-assistance program for the poor that only provides about $300 a month for a family of three. In hearing the proposals, one Democratic lawmaker asked: “How can a family with nothing be forced to meet these stringent requirements?”


Downloadable Resources

There are no attachments currently.
No items found.
Related posts
No items found.