Leaving money (and food) on the tableOrlando residents who are living in poverty left more than $41 million on the table by not claiming food stamps they were eligible for, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution based on 1999 numbers.
Less than half -- actually about 45 percent -- of the eligible households in the Orlando MSA received benefits. The Orlando Metropolitan Statistical Area is comprised of Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties.
In 2004, Florida ranked 48th in percent of eligible persons participating in food stamps. USDA estimated that 45 to 51 percent of the eligible persons in Florida received food stamps. Only Nevada and Massachusetts ranked lower. But the USDA numbers are estimates, expressed in a range, so Florida could actually be dead last.
And even if you’re not worried about where your next meal is coming from, you should care about these low levels of participation.
Each dollar of food stamps is estimated by the USDA to produce nearly two dollars in economic activity. Raising program participation increases the purchasing power of low-income residents and contributes to the overall local economy.
Read the entire Brookings Institution report here.
Check out the food-stamp eligibility standards here.
Get a food stamp application in English or Spanish. You can either mail the completed application or take it to your local DCF office.