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59,000 Florida families getting one-time payments of $450 per child to get ready for back to school

If you opened your mailbox and found a $450 check, it is for you and it is real.

The checks come from Casey Desantis’ Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity program which she highlighted in Tampa last Friday.

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Among other initiatives, it was announced $35.5 million in the governor’s budget will support around 59,000 families with a one-time payment of $450 per child.

A picture of the letter was posted to Twitter, which reads in part the payment can be used for anything from buying diapers to fueling up at the pump. It even makes note of the upcoming back-to-school sales tax holiday.

Although hundreds have shown their support via social media, saying the money will help their middle school teens and others just showing their appreciation, State Representative Angie Nixon took to Twitter to say the opposite.

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Nixon claims the checks are a way for DeSantis to buy votes ahead of the general election in November.

“Governor Ron DeSantis is making it seem as though he is the one who issued those checks,” Nixon said.

She also called the governor hypocritical for handing out cash after slamming Biden’s stimulus plan.

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“It’s really hilarious to me as well as contradictory to see that Ron DeSantis claimed that inflation is happening because of the stimulus funding President Biden helped push out but now he’s still offering checks that actually came from Biden funding as well,” Nixon said.

We emailed the governor’s office about both claims.

Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said any claims of “vote-buying” are absurd.

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She added the state’s spending on programs doesn’t cause inflation like federal spending does, and Florida has a budget surplus.

The Florida Department of Children and Families said families do not need to apply for the payment and checks have been mailed directly to recipients.

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Pushaw’s full statement is below:

“I think it’s self-explanatory that in a time of record-breaking inflation caused by irresponsible federal policies, families are struggling to afford back-to-school shopping for their kids, and these payments of $450 will make a real difference for foster kids whose families will be able to use these checks to purchase necessities instead of straining their budgets.

“The partisan allegations of “vote buying” are absurd, because literally any public service could be construed in the same manner – are food stamps and TANF payments (welfare) also ‘vote buying’? Are section 8 housing vouchers ‘vote buying’? I do not think they are. They’re just public services. A clear example of actual ‘vote-buying’ would be President Biden’s proposal to forgive $10k of student loan debt because his administration is worried about his low popularity among younger voters. Perhaps this would be something to ask partisan critics about – if they want to accuse anyone of ‘vote buying,’ they should explain what they mean by that accusation and apply the same standards to all political parties.

“The difference between Florida’s state-level programs and federal spending is simple. Florida has a budget surplus, whereas the federal government is in massive debt. The deficit spending and record money printing by the federal government has fueled inflation, raising prices nationally, and devaluation of the dollar. Florida obviously doesn’t print our own money nor do we control the money supply or monetary policy; that is up to the Fed.

“So unlike the stimulus and other federal deficit spending, the State of Florida’s spending on state programs does not cause inflation like federal deficit spending does. Thanks to Gov. DeSantis’ leadership, responsible fiscal policies, and record breaking tourism, Florida is in a position to fund all state government programs and priorities while also maintaining a ‘rainy day fund’ for economic stability and surplus funds in case of unforeseen circumstances in the future.”

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We also reached out to DCF for clarification on the allotted money. We received this response:

“On July 15, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that nearly 59,000 Florida families will receive a one-time payment of $450 per child. This one-time payment assists families who are being affected by rising inflation and preparing to send their children back-to-school. P-TANF will ultimately help eligible Florida families focus on their children’s needs and offer support this summer. The payments will arrive ahead of time for Florida’s “Back-to-school” sales-tax holiday taking place July 25 through August 7.

“Families do not need to apply for this one-time payment and checks have been mailed directly to the recipients and should arrive within the next seven days.

“The American Rescue Plan Act created a $1 billion fund to assist needy families affected by the pandemic within the TANF program. The one-time payments ensured that $35.5 million would be received by Florida families. Had these awards not been made, the funding would have otherwise reverted back to the federal government. Eligibility is based on federal TANF requirements and the state’s TANF Plan.

“You must fall into one of the eligible categories at the time enrolled populations were captured for this payment on July 1, 2022. Eligible recipients include:

  • Foster Parents
  • Relative Caregivers
  • Non-relative Caregivers
  • Families receiving TANF cash assistance
  • Guardianship Assistance Program participants

“For questions, please call 850-300-4323.”

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