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Paying Extra To Collect Welfare Benefits? State Officials Say You Don’t Have To

Don’t get duped into paying for services you could get for free—that’s the warning the Florida Department of Children and Families is issuing. The department says several other websites have cropped up to help Floridians apply for welfare benefits—but unlike the state, they charge a fee.

Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman, Erin Gillespie said it’s easy to stumble onto one of the third party sites by mistake.

“Basically, if you go to Google and you type in food stamps and Florida the first actual website that comes up is our website—the official website for the state of Florida to apply for food stamps. But, above that, an advertisement comes up, a paid advertisement to visit another website that also looks legitimate,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said those websites are technically legal, but charge applicants for services offered for free on the state’s website. And she cautions applicants to be careful about providing the personal information those third party sites ask for. Florida’s official website is :

For more news updates, follow Regan McCarthy on twitter @Regan_McCarthy