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Online Helpdesk - CAFE Upgrade

GREAT NEWS! DCFS is working to upgrade the technology system behind our CAFÉ Customer Portal to make communicating with your caseworker easier, to increase applicant and recipient access to information and to improve our overall service delivery. These FAQs are intended for clients whose cases have been converted to the new system. If your case is still in the original CAFE system, you can find FAQs about that system by visiting our Online Helpdesk.

CAFÉ Upgrade - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I am in the new CAFÉ or the original CAFÉ system?

Go to CAFÉ at www.dcfs.la.gov/cafe, and enter the reason for your visit (e.g., New Application, Redetermination, Check Case Status, etc.) and your personal information. You will then be directed either to the new CAFÉ system or the original CAFÉ system.

  • The new CAFÉ system has a green background and is labeled "CAFÉ Self-Service Portal" near the top of the screen.
  • The original CAFÉ system has a blue/gray background and is labeled "CAFÉ Customer Portal" near the top of the screen.
Why is my case still in the original CAFÉ Customer Portal? Am I going to get the upgraded system?

DCFS is moving all cases over to the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal in phases. We began this process on Nov. 18, 2019, with a pilot-test period and will continue moving cases into the new system over the next few months until all clients are using the new system.

Why do I have to create a new CAFÉ account?

DCFS has made several new improvements, including new security measures for the CAFÉ Self-Service Portal. To ensure that every CAFÉ account meets the minimum security standards to protect your information better, all customers will have to create new CAFÉ accounts when they are directed to the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal (green).

If you have applied for Medicaid online and have an existing LaMeds account, you will use that user name and password to log into the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, rather than creating a new account.

If you have an open case with DCFS, creating a new login for CAFÉ will not close your case. The CAFÉ portal account allows you to link to your DCFS account.

Your new CAFÉ portal will allow you to do even more than you did before, including making it easier to communicate with your caseworker.

What are the benefits of creating a CAFÉ account? Can I apply for benefits if I don't create a CAFÉ account?

You could apply for benefits without creating a CAFÉ account, by submitting a guest application. However, if you do create a CAFÉ account, you will also be able to:

  • Save an application and complete it later, rather than having to complete the application in one sitting;
  • Check the status of your application;
  • Report changes;
  • Submit a redetermination;
  • View current benefits.

In addition, with the new CAFÉ upgrades, you will be able to sign up to receive e-Notices instead of paper notices by mail, send a question to your worker, and import information from previous applications. E-notices will be available in your CAFÉ Inbox for 12 months from the date each notice is created.

What is the "Import My Application" feature?
If you have submitted an online application through LAMEDS (Medicaid) or CAFÉ Self-Service Portal within the past six months, you can pre-fill your answers to your SNAP, FITAP, KCSP or CSE application from a previous application. You also can edit the answers if needed.
How do I create a CAFÉ account?

If your case has been moved to the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, or if you are applying for benefits for the first time, follow the instructions found here to create an account in the new CAFÉ system.

Instructions for creating an account in the original CAFÉ system can be found here.

What information do I need to create a CAFÉ account in the new system?

You will need to provide your first and last name, have a valid email address, and create a username, password and PIN number. You will receive an email with a link to validate your email address.

Creating a new CAFÉ account will not change your User Number and PIN for 1-888-LA-HELP-U.

When I try to create a new account, it says my email has already been used to create an account. What's going on?

If you have applied online for Medicaid and have an existing LaMeds account, that user name and password will also be used for your new CAFÉ account, so you do not need to create another account. Use your LaMeds user name and password to log into the CAFÉ Self-Service Portal.

Once you have created an account for LaMeds or the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, you will not be able to create another account in CAFÉ using the same email address.

If you continue to have trouble creating a new account, you may call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) or email LAHELPU.DCFS@la.gov for assistance.

Do I have to have an email address to create a CAFÉ account?

Yes. To create an account in the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, you must have a valid email address. You will be asked during the account creation process to access that email acount and click on a link to validate your email address.

Using a valid email address to create a new CAFÉ account adds more security to protect your account information. Having a valid email address also allows you to reset a forgotten password by having a temporary password sent to you through email.

Once you have created an account on the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, you will not be able to create another account using the same email address. 

Can my account login information be transferred from my previous CAFÉ account to my new CAFÉ account?

No. You must create a new account login. If you had an existing CAFÉ account in the CAFÉ Customer Portal, you may use the same email address to create the new account login in the CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, but you must go through the steps of creating the new account.

Once you have created an account on the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, you will not be able to create another account using the same email address.

Can I create a new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal account on my smartphone?
Yes! You can also use your smart device to access CAFÉ and to apply for benefits.
When I create a new CAFÉ account, will my same EBT card still work?
Yes. No changes are being made to EBT cards. You will still be able to use your same card.
Will my benefits or child support be delayed by the upgrades to CAFÉ?
No. Enhancements to the CAFÉ portal will not delay your benefits or child support payments.
With the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, how do I sign up to receive electronic notices (e-Notices)?
Login to your CAFÉ account, access My Inbox, and Update your Paperless Notices option by clicking on "Yes." If you sign up for paperless notices, you will receive electronic notifications sent by text message or email, alerting you that you have a notice in your CAFÉ Inbox. You would no longer receive paper notices by U.S. Mail. It is very important that you access your CAFÉ account regularly to check for any notices. Electronic notices will be available in your CAFÉ Inbox for 12 months from the date each notice is created.
Can I receive e-Notices and mailed paper notices at the same time?
No. Users of the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal can receive either paperless notices (e-Notices) or paper notices by U.S. Mail, but not both at the same time.
How quickly can I receive e-Notices after a notice has been created?
If you have an account in the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal and have opted-in to receive e-Notices, once a notice is generated by your caseworker, you will be able to see that notice the next day by accessing your CAFÉ account.
How long will I have access to my e-Notices? Can I print them?
An e-Notice will stay in your CAFÉ Self-Service Portal Inbox for 12 months after it has been created. (Your notice will still be on file with the Department after the 12-month period ends.) Yes, you can print your e-Notices and keep them for your records.
I can no longer send my Child Support caseworker a message through CAFÉ. What happened?

While we are moving cases into our new CAFÉ system in phases, Child Support clients whose cases are moved into the new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal will temporarily lose the ability to contact their Child Support caseworker through CAFÉ. That messaging capability will be restored once all cases have been moved into the new system. In the meantime, you may email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or call our Customer Service Center at 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) to ask questions about your case.

What questions can I send to my SNAP/FITAP/KCSP caseworker from my new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal account?

If you have a CAFÉ Self-Service Portal account that is linked to an Active Case, you may send your worker one of the following messages:

  • I would like to reschedule my interview.
  • When is my scheduled interview?
  • Why did my case close or benefit amount change?
  • Was my verification received?
  • I received a letter, but I do not understand it.
  • I received a phone call from the agency.

You may submit one question every 2 business days.

If you have additional questions not listed here, you can contact the Customer Service Center at 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) or email LAHELPU.DCFS@la.gov

How long will it take for my caseworker to respond to me after sending my question through the CAFÉ Self-Service Portal?
You will receive a response within 2 business days, excluding state holidays or other days the offices are closed.
What should I do if I don't receive a response from my caseworker within 2 business days?
If you do not receive a response from your caseworker within 2 business days, you can submit another question or contact the Customer Service Center at 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) or email LAHELPU.DCFS@la.gov
My CAFÉ page is in a different language. How do I change it back?

There are links in the upper right corner of the CAFÉ page where you can select what language you want the information to be displayed in.

If you are trying to change the language back to English, click "Inglés" (if the page is in Spanish) or "Tiêng Anh" (if the page is in Vietnamese).