Published On: Wed, Sep 9th, 2020

CARES ACT- Coronavirus Relief Fund – PBC Food Assistance Program Frequently Asked Questions

The CARES ACT- Coronavirus Relief Fund Rent and Utilities Assistance Program (CARES Act) provides a one-time rental and utility assistance to eligible Palm Beach County residents who have experienced loss of income, reduction in hours, or unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic only.

Palm Beach County will utilize the funds provided by the CARES Act- Coronavirus Relief Fund to support this program . The rules and regulations associated under section 601(a) of the Social Security Act, as added by section 5001 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) will govern the use of the funds.

WARNING: Section 1001 of Title 19 of the U.S. code makes it a criminal offense to make willful false statements or misrepresentation to any department or agency of the United States as to any matter within the jurisdiction. False information may result in civil liability, and/or in criminal penalties including, but not limited to, fine, imprisonment or both. The program is not designed to assist those who were not financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.

Q. Who is eligible to receive food assistance?

Individuals or households residing in Palm Beach County who meet the following program criteria:

  • Applicant resides within the corporate limits of Palm Beach County.
  • Applicant(s) whose total income is at or below 140% of Area Median Income (AMI) limits, established by HUD for the jurisdiction of Palm Beach County, FL, prior to COVID-19.
  • Applicants who suffered a loss of wages and/or income directly related to COVID-19. You must be able todocument that you were unable to pay your rent or utilities strictly due to temporary loss of income, reduction in hours, or employment are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic only.

Q. What do I need to know before I apply for the program?

Program requiremets are as follows:

  • Applicants must attest that they have experienced loss of income, reduction of hours or both, orunemployment, directly related to COVID-19 pandemic .
  • Applicants must provide demographic information such as household member names, social securitynumbers (if applicable), dates of birth, etc.

Q. What documents are required to apply for food assistance?
Below is a list of required documents. All documents must be submitted in order to process the application. Incomplete applications may result in delays or application denial.

Proof of income for eligibility prior to COVID-19 (Applicant Only)

  • Pay stubs prior to COVID-19 crisis
  • Bank statements prior to COVID-19 crisis
  • Last filed tax return if self-employed
  • Self-attestation form to document loss of income, if reliable proof of loss of income cannot be secured
  • Community Services Department clients who received services in last 24 months will not be required to submit the income documentation unless a Case Manager deems it necessary.
  • Proof of COVID-19 Crisis (Applicant Only) Submit one or more:
    1. a)  Letter from employer stating your job loss or reduced work schedule and hours
    2. b)  Unemployment claim or unemployment submitted application
    3. c)  Before crisis pay stubs and current pay stubs with reduced hours
    4. d)  Evidence for loss of income if self-employed
  • Valid Government Issued ID (Applicant Only)
  • Social Security Card (Applicant Only)

Q. How many times can I receive assistance?

  • You may receive a one-time assistance benefit for all services. 
  • Only one card will be given out per household. 

Q. My Covid-19 Application is already in the system. How do I add additional Food Assistance to my existingopen Covid-19 application (Rental & Utility Services).

a) You will be able to add “Food Service” to your application if your application is fully processed and/or paymenthas been made for your earlier request. You can login and apply under Covid-19 Tab and reapply “Food Assistance”

b) You will not be able to add additional service if your current Covid-19 application is under Review or In Pending status. Applicants was required to apply for all services including food when they applied for rental and utility assistance. You will need to request CSD department to add the additional service at this time.

Please email at [email protected] with the Subject Line- Add Food Assistance.

Please include Applicant Name, Application Number, Mailing Address and brief description to demonstrate your need. Once we process your request, we will add the request to your existing. You will receive an email with a confirmation and/or you can check the status by logging in the system. We may prioritize the request for the clients who has not received any other benefits at this time.

You can call the Call Centre at 561.355.4792 during regular business hours to Add “Food Assistance” in your existing application.You can email your assigned Case Manager to request the Food Assistance to your existing application.No action is needed. Applicant will receive the card once the application is approved by Palm Beach County, Community Services Department. The card will be mailed within 10-15 days of approving your application at the mailing address provided on the application.

Q. I received rental and utility assisatance thru CARES funds. How do I request Food Assistance?

You will be able to add “Food Service” to your application if your application is fully processed and/or payment hasbeen made for your earlier request. You can login and re-apply under Covid-19 Tab and check “Food Assistance”

Q. My Application is already in the system as submitted or pending and I requested food assistance while applying for rental/utility assistance .

For re-applicants, documents already in the system may not need to be uploaded.

Q. What are there income guidelines for this program?

Applicants must meet gross annual incomes not exceeding 140% of Area Median Income (AMI) limits, established by HUD for the jurisdiction of Palm Beach County, Fla., prior to COVID-19 as follows:

Household /Family Size140%
1$86,100
2$98,420
3$110,740
4$122,920
5$132,860
6$142,660
7$152,460
8$162,260
9$172,088
10$181,922

Q. If I qualify, how much funding will I receive for food assistance?

Food assistance benefit allowances are based on household size and maximum amounts are listed below. Only one card will be given out per household.

  • 1-2 Household members: $400
  • 3-4 Household members: $800
  • 5 or more Household members: $1,000

Q. How do I apply for the CARES Act program?

  • You may apply for the CARES Act Rent & Utilities Assistance program online at PBCGov.org/OSCARSS or RentalAssistancePBC.org . Applications can be accessed through any internet connection. CSD staff may assist you by calling 561,355.4792. It is also helpful to visit the CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions and the OSCARSS online tutorial videos prior to completing an application..

Q. How can I verify the status of my application?

To verify the status of an application, visit CSD’s Client Services Search
at PBCGov.com/ClientServicesSearch or directly through the OSCARSS portal at PBCGov.com/OSCARSS.

Once an application is reviewed, you will receive an email for any pending documentation. Pending documents will also be listed in your application when you log in.

Applicants are encouraged to check their emails regularly and to maintain a valid phone number on file, as reviewers make contact by email, and they send important updates regarding applications.

Q. What is the Prepaid Visa for food assistance?

The Palm Beach County Community Services Department will provide direct assistance for food to eligible residents of Palm Beach County under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Palm Beach County will issue pre-paid debit cards to approved residents to purchase food.

Q. How does the dash Prepaid Visa work?

The card is a Prepaid Card. It can be used with a signature everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted for food purchase.

Q. How do I activate my Prepaid Visa card?

  1. To activate your Prepaid Visa card, call toll-free 833.848.5768.
  2. You will enter the last four digits of your SSN.
  3. Upon activation, you will receive a Personalized Identification Number (PIN). You can change this number at any time. Your PIN will not grant access to cash back or cash at ATMs.
  4. Turn the card over and sign your name in ink on the signature stripe.
  5. Verify funds have been loaded to the card. Your card is then ready to use.

Q. What do I do if the card is declined?

This means that the amount authorized by the merchant is more than the remaining card balance. When this situation occurs, please visit www.paymentcardinfo.com on your computer or mobile device1, log in securely, and check your balance.

Q. How can I check the balance on my card?

You can check your balance online at PaymentCardInfo.com or call 833.848.5768. You can also check your balance at any ATM by using the balance inquiry feature. Third-party fees may apply.

Q. Are there any other types of transaction I should know about?

Yes. Be aware of other pre-authorization processes for all “Open End Transactions” associated with certain types ofmerchants that sell goods or services where the final amount they will charge to your Card is unknown at the time they first authorize your Card. In these transactions, your account may be “authorized” or “have money held” for more than the actual amount of the purchase until the final transaction is complete – meaning that those “authorized dollars” are not available for you to spend elsewhere. The card is to assist you with the grocery expenses at any local grocery stores that accepts Visa Debit Card.

Q. What should I do if my card is lost or stolen?

Immediately notify the issuer by going online to PaymentCardInfo.com or call toll-free 833.848.5768. Customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to handle this occurrence. There will be a charge of $15 for issuing a new card and it will be reduced from your balance. Applicant will be responsible for the safe keep of the card.

Q. How will I receive the Prepaid Card?

Applicant will receive the card once the application is approved by Palm Beach County, Community Services Department. The card will be mailed within 10-15 days of approving your application at the mailing address provided on the application. All eligibility questions to be referred to Palm Beach County, Community Services Department at 561.355.4792.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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