The Social Service Department in Collier County focuses on seniors, the very low income, and working poor. Programs administered include the well-known ones, such as SNAP food stamps or Low Income Home Energy Assistance, as well as others such as discounted medications.
The department is the administrator for the federally funded food stamps program, which is now known as SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance. For those that qualify, SNAP provides low-income or working poor households with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that are accepted as payment for food at most grocery stores.
The dollar amount of the public assistance provided to each family will vary from household to household, according to income and family size. In addition, SNAP provides emergency food stamp assistance across Collier County Florida within one week for those residents experiencing crisis situations, as long as certain requirements in regard to income and spendable resources are met.
The Senior Nutrition Program promotes better health among Collier County's financially disadvantaged elederly, which are considered to be residents aged 60 and over. It works by providing nutritious meals each weekday at a number of public sites and countywide nutrition centers, even including local churches. There are sites located throughout Collier County. The program also provides the elderly with nutrition education to encourage them to eat healthfully at home.
As mandated by Florida Statute, Social Services contracts with the Child Protection Team as well as other government bureaucracies to address the needs of young children. A key resource is the Child Protection Services. The program provides payment for the initial examination of children in cases of abuse or suspected abuse.
Assistance with the costs of medical care and prescriptions is available through Social Services as part of the public health care program. Assistance is provided at the Health Building on Collier Government Campus, Suite 211, and at the Marion E. Fether Clinic in Immokalee. An appointment is required to complete an application, have an assessment done and complete an initial interview. Some of the medical assistance programs are described below:
The state of Florida Discount Drug Card will offer low cost prescriptions for uninsured Collier County Florida residents. To qualify for the card, total household income must be under 300 percent of the federal government poverty level, and proof of that is needed. There is no cost to sign up, and it is used at thousands of stores in Florida.
Hospital Care or Nursing Home is mandated by Florida Statute. As a result, a monthly payment of $55 is provided for Medicaid recipients living in skilled nursing homes. Social Services, using public funds and government grants, also provides 35 percent of the per diem rate for the eleventh through forty-fifth days of a hospital stay for Medicaid recipients.
Similarly, the Health Care Responsibility Act (also known as HCRA) mandates that payment must be provided for indigent Collier County residents who receive treatment at a hospital outside of the county borders. The treating hospital is required to submit an application to the country to determine eligibility for any financial assistance.
When all other avenues for service have been exhausted or denied, Social Service’s Temporary Shelter Assistance Program provides short-term rental assistance. Note this is only for disabled individuals who are without income and are in imminent danger of being evicted from their homes. In some cases, the county will issue the disabled tenant a loan to be used for their rental costs.
As mandated by Florida Statute, Social Services provides free burial and cremation services for deceased residents of Collier County. This is publicly support, and the aid is only for residents with no other resources for making their final arrangements. Burial at Lake Trafford Cemetery is included.
Using public funds, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists income-eligible residents, the disabled and senior citizens of Collier County. It uses both state and federal grants to help with payment of their electric and gas bills. Applications are available at the main department office, all the local Community Action Agencies and Service Centers.
With funding from the government, the Lifeline and Link-Up Florida telephone assistance programs are available to all Collier County residents in need of affordable access to home telephone connection and service. Funds may also be used to set up phone service as well, or the customer will be given a discount.
There are several social service offices to apply at for benefits. They include the following.
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