Working in close partnership with the state of Jew Jersey, the Atlantic County Human Services Department provides applications to a wide variety of public assistance programs. There are resources available for addressing a number of situations, ranging from lack of food to cash assistance to pay for basic needs. Most of the support is for families living in poverty or the unemployed, and there are a high number of those in the Atlantic City New Jersey area.
However, a key focus of the social workers from Department of Human Services is on ending the cycle of poverty and helping clients transition off of welfare or government benefits. Or they will direct people to government sponsored job retraining programs so they can gain new skills.
The aid is targeted at addressing the emergency that the family is facing, and it comes with restrictions. Not only is funding limited due to numerous budget cuts in New Jersey, but the county will also require the applicant to be taking part in employment programs, ranging from job placement to training or education. So applicants need to be on the patch to self-sufficiency.
NJ FamilyCare is the county's primary medical bill assistance program, and it is their version of Medicaid. So this means it focuses on the very low income and people that can't get insurance from other sources. There are thousands of families from the county of Atlantic that receive their health insurance from this public program, and it will help people access the care they need.
There are different versions and components to it, but patients can receive everything from basic check ups to medications. In general, this will operate as an HMO in the county, so it is a form of managed care and the doctors will offer what they can as part of the network. In most cases, a minimal fee is required by the patient, and they need to contribute something towards their medical costs.
The Atlantic County DHS WorkFirst New Jersey was the state's version of welfare, but it was renamed as TANF at the federal level. In either case, very low income families in Atlantic County may be able to enroll, and it can offer public assistance to residents in a few different ways.
-Cash assistance or government grants are used over the short term for paying bills, rent, housing costs, and other expenses. Funds can be used for buying food, paying for transportation, energy bills and more.
-WorkFirst requires employment. The client will partner with a social worker from DHS on both finding and retaining a job, or gaining new skills if they are needed. While it can be challenging in Atlantic City, this will in effect help individuals take care of themselves so they can pay the bills on their own in the future.
-Any assistance is limited to up to 5 years at most, but other restrictions may be in place.
Grants for paying heating bills are part of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. The county, partnering with the Department of Community Affairs, will accept applications in the fall or winter months, and all financial aid is paid out first come and served. There is also crisis assistance for people with a medical condition or facing a disconnection.
The LIHEAP application process will allow seniors in Atlantic County to apply early, usually in September or October. So older residents should be prepared with proof of income, needs, and other documentation when the enrollment period opens.
Food programs include SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Another option, WIC, is focused on women as well as infants. Residents of Atlantic County can apply to Department of Human Services for this public benefit. There is assistance for seniors, the low income, and others on a fixed income.
Food stamps will assist residents with paying for a nutritionally balanced diet, including fruits, groceries, and other items at their local grocery store. Those who enroll will be given a debit card that they can use to buy groceries at the store. Most retailers participate in the public subsidy.
Partner with a social worker from DS of Atlantic County to apply for disability, such as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This public benefit can assist low income residents who are disabled, over age 65, blind or facing other exceptional circumstances. While the Social Security Administration approves applications, guidance can be provided at the human service office. Another government agency that may be able to help with this process is the New Jersey Division of Disability Services.
New Jersey Cares for Kids will help working poor parents in Atlantic County pay for child care, and they can even select their own provider, if he county approves them. There is financial support for toddlers, childcare for infants, preschool-age children, and others. There is also particular support for disabled children and those with other special needs. The parent will also need to pay a portion of the total bill too, and that amount will be based on their income.
There are other One Stop Employment Centers in the county, and they not only are open to WorkFirst families, but others such as seniors and teens can turn to them. Retraining for new skills, such as computer and precision manufacturing, is stressed by the centers. The locations will also help the underemployed gain skills or a new job.
Specialists from the centers will work with clients on creating resumes or cover letters. There are also practice session on preparing for interviews, including mock sessions. The centers in Atlantic County even partner with employers and businesses in the county with identifying qualified employees for a position, or help the company retrain someone for a role.
The department is located at 1333 Atlantic Avenue. The hours tend to be Monday to Friday. The city is Atlantic City, NJ 08401, or dial (609) 348-3001.
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