There are many programs run by the Department of Social Services in Morris County. They are the location to apply at for public assistance, whether it is rent, food, or even medical care such as that from Pharmacy Owners Provider Services. They even process applications for federal benefits such as TANF of SNAP food stamps.
MCSS social services offers intake services for a full range of resources to anyone with a documented issue. There is public aid for everything from housing, medical bills, transportation, or even counseling for personal relationships. Based on an initial screening and needs assessment done by social workers at the department, staff determine program eligibility. They will also furnish information and referrals; and link clients with shelters, assistance with back rent, mortgage or utilities.
The target population for any public assistance will include vulnerable adults or families. Clients need to have a plan in place to gain stability. There may be grants or support for people experiencing housing, child rearing, financial or mental health problems. Those with on-going needs are assigned to the appropriate service unit.
GA - General Assistance is a state of New Jersey funded cash assistance program for single individuals and childless couples. This is only for the poor who meet program income requirements. GA clients are typically also eligible for SNAP and certain limited medical services. The Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance (OTA) manages GA applications.
Rental Assistance offers cash grants or other forms of financial assistance to cover up one month’s back rent. There may also be government funds to pay for rent in advance or a security deposit to those who are homeless or at risk. The goal is to stop evictions for people who are also dealing with financial hardships.
In addition to the financial assistance from the department, clients of this program also meet with a social worker for a complete needs assessment. To be accepted into the program, applicants must document a specific hardship that kept them from making their rent payment on their own. They also need to prove that they will be better able to pay on time in the future. Currently, limited public funding prohibits OTA from providing ongoing assistance with rent payments, so it is one time only support.
There is also support for heating and electric bills. With the goal of helping very low income and working poor clients who have received shut-off notices avoid having their power disconnected, or of restoring service that has already been shut off, OTA’s Emergency Utility Assistance Program provides financial assistance. There is only public aid from social services for those who meet program requirements.
Any benefits from the department are in the form of one-time payments made directly to the utility company. Additionally, each individual meets with a social worker for a thorough assessment to ensure that all needs are met. Utility Bill Assistance dollar amounts are limited, and dial 973-829-8176 for information.
Potential TANF recipients are eligible to participate in the Early Employment Initiative (EEI), the purpose of which is to help them avoid resorting to public assistance. While enrolled in EEI, participants are provided with intensive job search services, plus monetary support for as long as they continue looking for employment.
The MCSS Food Pantry distributes emergency food as well as groceries to Morris County residents. It is for those with a very low income that may struggle to provide adequate food to their families. The local food bank will depend on volunteers to help keep it running. They will also deliver items in Morris County and distribute goods. Other tasks may involve stocking shelves and managing donations. Call the pantry at 973-326-7871, or stop in at 340 West Hanover Avenue in Morristown.
Food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, furnishes funds designated for purchasing groceries to single individuals as well as very low income families. There is also support for those who share a household and purchase and prepare food together. Once eligibility for food stamps is determined, based on household income and expenses, benefits are issued in the form of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) deposits.
This transfer of the benefit to the client’s EBT account at the beginning of the month has greatly enhanced the program’s efficiency, eliminating the need for paper vouchers. The ability to apply for this public aid program via mail or telephone is another convenience, as it eliminates the need to schedule a visit to the Department of Social Services.
Those Morris County families that are eligible for SNAP and Medicaid are often also eligible for cash aid from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF provides direct financial assistance to parents, relatives, or legal guardians who care for a child up to age 18. There is also public aid for the disabled and underemployed.
Smart Steps is a financial assistance program for WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ) participants and those who are eligible for WFNJ and attending college. Please note that slots for Smart Steps are limited to a certain maximum.
The Prescription Assistance Program will provide clients who are awaiting acceptance into the Medicaid Program or another prescription assistance program with one time assistance with obtaining medication. Please call 973-829-8176 for further information.
Free or affordable priced health insurance is available in Morris County. This is only for uninsured children aged 19 and under is available through New Jersey Family Care and participating HMOs. For most children, covered services include hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, lab tests, x-rays, eyeglasses, mental health services, prescription drugs, and dental care. Eligibility requirements are based on monthly income and household size. No one is denied because of a pre-existing condition. Please visit the Department of Social Services Office of Temporary Assistance, or dial 1-800-701-1710 .
New Jersey Workability is a medical assistance plan that targets individuals aged 16 to 64. There is health care for people have permanent physical or mental disabilities or that are on SSI. Applicants must be employed on either a full or part-time basis, while also receiving Social Security Disability compensation.
POPS, or the Pharmacy Owners Provider Services Program is available to residents of Morris County who are not covered by any government or employer-based prescription program. It is a discount service. For an annual, non-refundable membership fee, people save 50 percent on their prescriptions at any participating Morris County pharmacy.
In order to apply for this prescription service, there are no age or income requirements. In addition to that, there are no exclusions due to pre-existing conditions, no quantity limits, no deductibles, and no applications to complete.
The Office of Temporary Assistance also serves as administrator of community and institutional-level Medicaid programs, which serve financially and medically eligible families and individuals.
Assistance with child care costs is the form of partial payments is available as well. This support is for low to moderate-income working families and is offered through New Jersey Cares for Kids. The program benefits single-parent or two-parent families with children from birth to age twelve.
In order to enroll, it requires that parents, even including single moms, must be employed at least 30 hours per week. All caregivers selected by parents must be approved, registered, or licensed, as well as meet state requirements.
For more information on these public benefits, the Morris County Social Services is located at 340 W. Hanover Ave., Morristown, New Jersey 07960. The main number is 973-326-7800.
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