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How do I apply for food, cash, and health insurance assistance? How are assistance programs adjusting for COVID-19?
New Jersey has an online application and screening tool, NJHelps, that can be used to see if you are eligible for food assistance (SNAP), cash assistance (WFNJ/TANF or WFNJ/GA), and health Insurance (NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid). From there, you can apply for services or learn about additional resources.
To learn more about NJ SNAP and apply for help buying groceries, you can also visit, https://www.nj.gov/humanservices/njsnap/.
To apply for support through the NJ WIC Program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), applicants can visit https://nj.gov/health/fhs/wic/participants/find-wic and contact their local WIC office by phone. During the coronavirus outbreak, new applicants will be assessed, certified and issued benefits remotely.
HEALTH INSURANCE UPDATES
Marketplace health insurance plans and financial help are now only available through New Jersey's state-run health-care exchange Get Covered New Jersey at getcovered.nj.gov.
Get Covered New Jersey provides a one-stop shop for health insurance for residents who do not have coverage from an employer or other program. Under the American Rescue Plan, more people than ever will qualify for financial help in purchasing a plan through Get Covered NJ. If you did not qualify for financial help before because your income was too high, you may now qualify under the federal changes. If you already are receiving financial help, you are likely eligible for additional premium reductions.
New Jersey extended the window for eligible uninsured residents to enroll in a health insurance plan through the marketplace or directly from carriers through a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period, which runs through December 31, 2021.
To learn more about insurance subsidies and how to apply, visit getcovered.nj.gov.
NOTE: Children and eligible low-income parents, pregnant women, or individuals with disabilities may also obtain affordable health coverage through NJ Family Care. Visit NJfamilycare.org to learn more.
Simplified Application Process: During this public health crisis, the State has made the application process for SNAP food assistance simpler. For example, a hard copy signature for your application and an interview are no longer required to apply for SNAP during this emergency.
Through a new online tool, available on NJOneApp, SNAP applicants can upload the documentation needed for applications electronically instead of mailing or dropping off documents to the county enrollment offices.
You can also apply online at NJHelps.org or if you do not have a computer, you can apply by phone by calling your local board of social services. You can also download the application and mail it into the local board of social services.
Temporary Emergency Supplemental Food Assistance Benefits: As of April 2021, households will receive at least $95 in emergency benefits or the maximum temporary benefit for your household size, whichever is greater. Before April 2021, only households who were not receiving the maximum SNAP allotment for their household size received a temporary emergency supplemental benefit. These additional emergency benefits are temporary. For the latest information, refer to the SNAP updates page.
Extra Benefits for Children: Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) is a program to help purchase food for school-aged children who were eligible for free or reduced price school meals at a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), but whose schools closed or operated with reduced attendance or hours for five consecutive days due to COVID-19. The Department of Human Services is working on a plan to issue benefits for the 2021-2022 school year. At this time, all benefits have been issued for the 2020-2021 school year and summer 2021. If you received a P-EBT card, please keep it in case of future benefits.For the latest updates, visit the P-EBT page.
SNAP Work Activities: During the current public health crisis, your case will not be closed if you are unable to participate in a work activity.
SNAP Recertification Extension: If your case was due to be recertified and you are unable to get your paperwork in or complete your interview, your case will not be closed. You will receive your benefits on the usual day. Your case has been granted a six-month extension from the date your recertification is due. More information will follow on your new recertification date. In the meantime, you will continue to receive SNAP benefits
Online Grocery Shopping: New Jerseyans enrolled in SNAP may use their Families First EBT card to purchase eligible SNAP food items at participating stores online. For more information about ordering online and to find participating stores in your area, visit the NJ SNAP Using Your Benefits page.
WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN (WIC) UPDATES
In light of COVID-19, New Jersey WIC has made several important changes to better serve residents:
- New participants can apply for New Jersey WIC by contacting your local WIC agency or WIC clinic office and scheduling an appointment. You can also use the WICParticipant Portal to see if you are eligible to receive WIC benefits.
- Current participants can continue to receive benefits by having 3 months' worth of checks mailed to their homes.
- Participants who are quarantined and unable to leave their homes to purchase foods, can designate an emergency proxy who can cash their checks at a store on their behalf.
- The State is working closely with their infant formula contractor to ensure formula supplies are fully stocked at stores.
- The State is also working closely with their authorized stores to ensure that limits placed on certain food items to customers are not placed on WIC participants.
- For more information and updates, visit the NJ Department of Health's WIC page
WORK FIRST NEW JERSEY (WFNJ) UPDATES
WFNJ Recertification Extension: If your WFNJ case is scheduled to be redetermined, the deadline may be extended, for specific reasons, as long as the Public Health State of Emergency remains in place. Information will be sent to you about your new redetermination date. If you have questions, contact your county board of social services. In the meantime, you will continue to receive WFNJ benefits.
WFNJ Work Activities: During the current public health crisis, your case will not be closed if you are unable to participate in a work activity. This includes if you are a General Assistance (GA) client completing the 28-day work activity while your case is being reviewed.
Sources: https://www.njhelps.org/; https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200327a.shtml; https://www.childcarenj.gov/SocialServices; Health Commissioner's Remarks 5/8/20; Commissioner Persichilli 7/20/20;