Department of Human Services

NJ Human Services Delivers Extra Food Assistance Benefits to 231,000 Households

USDA Change Allows New Jersey to Send Extra April Food Assistance by Bolstering Emergency Allotments During Pandemic

 

April 13, 2021

 

(TRENTON) –  The Department of Human Services today announced 231,000 New Jersey households who receive food assistance through the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) have received extra benefits under a new federal policy.

Human Services has been providing NJ SNAP households with the maximum benefits since March 2020 when the pandemic began, but those who were already receiving the maximum benefit could not receive extra help under a Trump Administration decision.

Under a recent change by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under President Biden, 137,000 New Jersey households that were already receiving that maximum available SNAP benefit became eligible for and have now received a $95 supplement for April.

Meanwhile, 94,000 New Jersey households that were receiving less than $95 in supplemental benefits also became eligible for extra help. Those households have now received what was needed for their benefit to equal $95 for April.

The increased benefits were directly loaded to NJ SNAP recipients’ Families First EBT cards.

Benefit levels remained unchanged for households that have been receiving increased payments of at least $95 per month. They received their monthly benefits in early April.

Also, a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits that began in January remains in effect through September.

With the new April extra payments included, Human Services has now distributed $620.2 million in supplemental monthly SNAP payments since March 2020 to New Jersey residents.

“We remain committed to providing as much additional food security as possible to New Jersey families, and are pleased to provide this extra assistance,” Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “We welcome this change by the USDA, and appreciate the continued support from our Congressional delegation. These additional food assistance benefits will prove vital to many New Jerseyans as we continue through this public health crisis.”

“We are dedicated to helping as many families as we can during this continued difficult period for as long as possible,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “We are also pleased that the Biden administration is no longer considering SNAP benefits in a public charge test. It is crucial that eligible families access these critical benefits without fear of immigration consequences.”

Last month, the Biden Administration also announced it was rescinding the 2019 Public Charge Rule. As a result, receipt of SNAP benefits is no longer considered part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

NJ SNAP provides food assistance to families with low incomes to help them buy groceries through a benefit card accepted in most food retail stores and farmer’s markets.  Families can also use their cards online through Amazon and participating locations of Aldi, ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer and Walmart.

The monthly supplemental payments are contingent upon month-to-month USDA approval. The USDA can approve supplemental SNAP payments for states as long as the federal government has declared a public health emergency and the state has issued an emergency declaration. The new USDA policy also puts in place a phase-out period that allows a state to provide supplemental allotments for the month following the expiration of the state’s public health emergency.

NJ SNAP serves about 822,600 New Jerseyans in about 423,000 households, with the monthly SNAP benefit based on household size and income.

Individuals can visit njhelps.org to see if they’re eligible for SNAP and apply.