Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

November 3, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Gillespie,
DCF Press Secretary,
(850) 717-4450

~ Lighthouse design replaces American flag on EBT card used for public assistance benefits ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The Florida Department of Children and Families is continuing to provide new ACCESS cards to recipients of public assistance. These new cards feature a lighthouse design and are replacing the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which has a flag design, to increase security and durability.

The new card is for customers who receive food assistance, Temporary Cash Assistance, Refugee Assistance, and Food Assistance Employment and Training payments. The new card has been distributed to first-time recipients and as replacements for lost, stolen or damaged cards. Current recipients can also call to have a new ACCESS card sent to them at any time.

From now through the end of 2011, replacement of the EBT card is voluntary. Beginning in January 2012, the Department will begin replacing all remaining American flag EBT cards by mail. Cardholders will still be able to use their current card until they receive the new ACCESS card. The American flag EBT card will be deactivated 90 days after the client receives the new card.

Similar to a commercial credit or debit card, the ACCESS card has an expiration date and will be replaced automatically every four years with a new design. Authorized retailers statewide have been informed of this change, and posters and fliers have been distributed through our community partners and in DCF service centers.

DCF's Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) 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 3.2 million food assistance recipients and 84,146 who receive cash assistance. To apply for benefits, go to To request a new ACCESS card, customers can call toll-free to the EBT card replacement line at 866-430-8999 or to EBT Customer Service at 888-356-3281. For more information about the new ACCESS card, please go online to