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Hundreds of SNAP, Medicaid recipients could lose coverage amid problems with new DCF portal

ORLANDO, Fla. — In 2020, hundreds of thousands of Floridians could not access unemployment benefits due to the state’s broken online system. Now, hundreds of Central Floridians could soon lose food stamps and Medicaid because of problems with yet another online system.

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The new MyACCESS application portal launched on December 5th and was supposed to be more user friendly.

However,  since its launch,  Channel 9 has showed you longlines for in-person requests, online glitches, and overwhelmed call lines. 

Community advocate Vanessa Brito said “compounding issues” have caused hundreds to already lose benefits.

In just an 8-hour window, she collected names from over 160 Floridians dealing with portal problems.

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Brito said one of the most common problems is that documents uploaded to the new portal by claimants aren’t populating after multiple attempts.

It’s causing claimants to be denied for incomplete applications.

“They’re having their cases terminated and closed,” said Brito, “We have children, elderly, or just needy families at the moment that are losing health care coverage and supplemental assistance via SNAP.

Channel 9 has heard from multiple Central Floridians struggling since we first started reporting on the ongoing issues.

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One woman told us she applied for SNAP benefits on December 12, but her application was missing proof of income documentation.

Despite trying to submit via the website she couldn’t properly upload documents.

That’s when the woman claimed she began calling the state’s information call-line to no avail.

She ultimately needed to fax in her documentation to receive benefits.

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“That it’s faster to fax in your documents than to digitally upload them directly from your phone or a laptop is a testament to how dysfunctional the system is,” said Brito.

Brito has worked to provide names of those impacted to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

She stated many with the agency have been helpful, but she hasn’t been able to get answers from the agency about what’s behind the issues.

“I don’t want to slam them. But I do feel like it’s important to demand transparency from them and not blame the claimant,” said Brito.

For the last three weeks, Channel 9 has requested information from the agency about what it is doing to fix this, and how we should direct those in need.

So far, DCF has only said, they’re working on our request.

In early January, DCF told us more than 1-million documents had been uploaded and nearly 500,000 people successfully applied for benefits through the portal.

However, as we pressed DCF with follow-up questions, the agency failed to respond with any new details.

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