TALLAHASSEE— A new Department of Children and Families contract to process Electronic Benefit Transfer services for clients who receive food and cash assistance was signed today, saving taxpayers at least $8.6 million next fiscal year and an estimated $21 million over the next three years.
“Our agency is constantly seeking ways to become more efficient while providing quality services to people in need across Florida,” said Secretary David Wilkins. “This is another example of saving taxpayers money while helping our friends and neighbors who need temporary help.”
DCF signed the contract with eFunds — a subsidiary of FIS Government Services, the world’s largest provider of banking and payment technologies — after negotiations with several vendors to process these services. The contract term begins on July 1, 2013 and includes comprehensive electronic payment services for federal food assistance, Temporary Cash Assistance and also includes adding the state’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to the EBT card.
The team also negotiated substantial resources valued at $2.4 million to be included in the contract at no extra cost. These services include call center assistance, fraud prevention, consulting, hardware and more.
EBT cards are similar to commercial debit or credit cards, including a PIN for security measures. The new contract will not change the current card or customer contact information for EBT clients. DCF’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is responsible for determining eligibility for public assistance and providing ongoing case management of public benefits.
The Food Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need for good health. The Temporary Cash Assistance Program provides short-term cash benefits to families with children under the age of 18, or under age 19 if full-time secondary school students, as well as pregnant women in their last trimester. Both are federally-funded programs administered by the department.
The department currently has 3.6 million food assistance recipients and 99,823 who receive cash assistance. To apply for benefits, go to www.myflorida.com/accessflorida. For EBT information, call the EBT Customer Service at 888-356-3281.
DCF previously contracted EBT services with CitiBank Electronic Financial Services, which was then bought by JP Morgan Electronic Financial Services. The current contract with JP Morgan expires on June 30, 2013. The agency released an invitation to negotiate for continuation of EBT services in May 2012 and signed the contract with eFunds in December 2012.