Low income families can receive public assistance in New Jersey from several statewide programs and resources. The primary government agency that administers the emergency assistance programs is the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Learn about the various resources administered below.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services provides access to mainstream medical care for children and adults. Services are tailored to the needs of families in a variety of situations, whether it is an elderly Medicaid recipient, a low-income worker in a job without health benefits, the unemployed, an individual with a developmental disability, or a family who incurs catastrophic expenses from their child's illness.
The New Jersey Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund (CICRF) provides eligible low to moderate income families with cash grants and financial assistance. The money can be used to pay off previously incurred medical bills and debts that may have been incurred by their child. The public assistance from the CICRF program can be used to pay medical bills that exceed 10% of the first $100,000 of the applicants total household income, plus up to 15% of any income in excess of $100,000. The types of bills and debts that are paid for is wide ranging, and can include the following. For children ages zero to 21, covered medical expenses include, but are not limited to, home health care expenses, medical transportation, special ambulatory care, acute or specialized in- or out-patient hospital care, prescription medications, medical equipment, medically-related home and vehicle modifications such as wheelchair lifts or ramps.
Medicaid as well as NJ FamilyCare can be used by residents to receive health care. These services are public programs that are funded by both the state as well as the federal government, and provide health insurance coverage for over 1 million individuals across New Jersey. The program will focus on income-eligible families who are disabled, aged, blind or senior citizens. The New Jersey Medicaid program will pay for hospital, doctor bills, nursing home care, prescription drugs, and/or many other health care benefits and medical bills. With the various managed care programs available, beneficiaries are enrolled in an HMO that manages their medical care expenses and provides services in addition to the wide array of Medicaid health benefits to which they are entitled to receive.
The NJ FamilyCare program will offer income-eligible families and children public health insurance. Some financial assistance is also provided from the federal government funded State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP. The state of New Jersey FamilyCare medical program can help financially qualified families (usually low-income workers in jobs without dental or health benefits) obtain health insurance to cover the medical bills for routine expenses such as lab tests, eyeglasses, physician visits, prescription drugs, hospitalizations, x-rays and dental care for some adults and most children. Assistance can be provided for themselves and for their children. This state wide public health care program will therefore eliminate the residents need to use expensive charity care or ambulatory services in the emergency room for meeting their primary health care needs.
New Jersey’s official public assistance program is known as WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ). It was created to help low income and working poor families move to self-sufficiency by offering them short term emergency cash assistance for bills and expenses, and offers people access to a full array of support, from transportation, child care, health insurance and access to substance abuse treatment and emergency funds for basic needs. A key is also helping people find jobs and take care of themselves over the long term as well. Recipients of WorkFirst New Jersey can receive up to a five-year lifetime limit on emergency cash assistance from this public resource, and must become employed or take part in work activities as well.
SNAP, for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the new name for the New Jersey Food Stamp program. This resource can help eligible New Jersey low income families, including senior citizens on small fixed incomes, receive government benefits that can help them afford a nutritionally balanced diet. Local Boards of Social Services, community action agencies, and County Welfare Agencies will accept applications for food stamps and they will determine who is eligible for free vouchers, meals, and food stamp benefits.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services can help people apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This federal government program may be able to help eligible low income and working poor people who are over age 65, blind and/or disabled. These qualified people can receive Federal Social Security Administration dollars to help them pay for legal fees, special living arrangements (e.g., nursing home care), burial costs, and other emergency costs, such as housing and food.
Home Energy Assistance is offered by the NJ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This service is now managed by the Department of Community Affairs. The federal government LIHEAP energy program provides subsidies to help low-income individuals and families, and grants can help them pay for home heating bills or heating costs associated with homeownership or rent. Qualified households may also be eligible for energy funds on an emergency basis or medically-necessary cooling assistance.
Low-income working families and individuals may receive a bigger tax refund from the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This is state income tax benefit for low-income working families and individuals. It may lower the amount of both state and federal government taxes that an individual owes, increase their tax refund, or may provide a tax refund to income qualified individuals even if they do not owe any state or federal taxes.
The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) provides qualified people with access to a number of rehabilitative, preventive, public resources, and assistive services. Applicants need to be visually impaired or blind or at risk of becoming so. Services provided by CBVI include, but are not limited to, educational and vocational rehabilitation, eye health screenings and assessments for adults and children, annual sleep-away camping for children who are blind or visually impaired, and referrals to other public government programs as needed.
New Jersey Cash Assistance Family (TANF) is a state and federal government public assistance program designed to help lower income and working poor families pay their short time bills and gain self-sufficiency. TANF funds in New Jersey can pay for bills and expenses such as Career Advancement Vouchers, Housing Subsidies and Payment of Certain Work Expenses, Transportation Assistance, Medicaid/Medical bills, Child Care and more.
Division of Disability Services (DDS) can help individuals and their families who have or live with someone with disabilities. Receive help with locating appropriate resources in their communities. The Division also is responsible for overseeing various government funded Medicaid home-and community-based waiver programs and managing other public health care programs for the disabled in New Jersey.
Self-sufficiency is offered by the Division of Family Development. The agency ensures that low income working families and individuals get access to the resources and the support they need to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency over the mid to long term. Some of the services provided include helping lower income families and individuals who are transitioning from welfare to work. Supports that are critically important to low-income, working families include access to transportation, information on government public assistance, medical insurance, child care costs, housing services, section 8 and other services listed below.
Job training and career counseling is also offered by The New Jersey Department of Human Services. Services offered by the state aim to help people get off of welfare and into a job and improve their skills, if possible. That is the primary goal of the State’s WorkFirst New Jersey program. Efforts and programs provided by social workers include helping people acquire the career skills they need in order to get a job, sign up for work activities programs, job training, educational as well as logistical help with transportation, child care, and other support and aid.
Child care services are offered in New Jersey and they are coordinated through various departments: the Department of Education's Early Childhood Education for information, programs, policy and resources; the Division of Developmental Disabilities for some family support services; DHS's Division of Family Development for child care operations; and also the state’s Office of Licensing in the Department of Children and Families – all in cooperation with Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies in every county. Public child care services include information and referral to help parents find child care resources and to answer typical questions regarding how to pay for care, types of child care, and government assistance and tax credits for child care.
In addition to the resources above, New Jersey may help qualified low income families and parents pay for their child care. Qualified applicants can receive subsidies on their expenses so that they do not need to pay the entire cost on their own. Continue.
New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is another government run agency for the disabled. It can, among other things, coordinate and provide public services and various forms of assistance for residents with intellectual disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and traumatic brain injuries. Services and programs include respite care for family members, family counseling, and referral services to other community-based resources and New Jersey or federal government public assistance programs as needed. This Division operates seven developmental centers around the state, where people with developmental disabilities receive round-the-clock care. Several other resources may be provided too as well to New Jersey families.
The New Jersey Kinship Navigator program serves families raising children, such as a niece, nephew or grandchild, who have no involvement with DYFS. Kinship caregivers are given and kind people who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their relatives' children. These individuals are providing them with a safe, reassuring environment to live in, and pay for their bills and basic living needs. The state offers a variety of financial aid and support services to the various kinship caregivers, who may be eligible for monthly payments and financial assistance for bills and expenses through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In addition, the children under their care may be eligible for Medicaid health insurance and therefore support with medical bills and expenses.
The Department of Human Services can help with the following as well. Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund, Division of Disability Services (DDS), Weatherization, Child Care and Support, Social Services, Food Stamps, Supportive Assistance to Individuals & Families WorkFirst NJ/TANF, Mental Health Services and many others. Dial the organization at 888-285-3036.
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