Most of the public assistance programs in Passaic County are focused on families living in poverty, the disabled, and senior citizens. Several of them, such as grants from TANF or welfare, are time limited. Other government benefits, as noted below, focus on other needs of an income qualified family.
Programs available will fall into different categories. Some of them offer cash assistance to pay for living expenses. There are also public benefits for health care needs, food, employment, and other bills. The categories of public aid are as follows.
Medicaid is for very low income families, and Medicare can help senior citizens and/or the disabled. The county of Passaic, using state of New Jersey and federal money, will help pay for prescription medications and reimburse families for their medical bills using the health insurance concept. The options include Family and Children's as well as Adult Medicaid.
The NJ SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Food Stamp Program is one of the time limited assistance programs for feeding families. Any use of it is for short term needs only. The clients of this Passaic County Social Services public benefit can use a county issues EBT card to help pay for groceries, which will improve their overall health and nutrition.
Applications are provided at the main office. The aid will in effect help the client increase their food purchasing power, and the eligibility for food stamps and the amount of aid provided will vary. The Board of Social Services will take into account the applicant's income, savings, resources, and total household members, among other criteria.
The county can help low-income working families or those in school with paying for their child care needs. The government program will help parents participate in per-approved education and job training activities. Or the grants can be used if the parent(s) is in employment or if their parent is unable to provide care.
The amount of the benefit is a sliding fee scale, so public aid will only pay a portion of the day care bills. Social services in Passaic County can provide information on approved providers as well, including licensed child care centers, government certified small family child care homes, or even relatives.
Welfare, or TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is when a very low income family/those living in poverty are given cash aid for a limited number of months. The public funds, known as WorkFirst NJ, will help them pay for basic needs around housing, food, medical needs, and more. The short term aid serves as the families bridge back to self-sufficiency over many months.
General assistance from TANF is combined with employment services in Passaic County. This is required as an able-bodied adult on welfare needs to work over time. The social worker, as part of this process, can help client's apply for child care help (see above) access transportation, and enroll into job training centers.
Government programs from the Energy Assistance Program help pay heating or cooling costs. There is also emergency public assistance or utility bills as part of LIHEAP as well. There may be instances in which a grant from the county can help with repair or replacement of heating or cooling equipment, if there is a medical need. Applications are taken during the fall, with the window to apply open to low income senior, the disabled, and families living in poverty with young children.
Telephone Discount Programs are also part of the public assistance programs. Partnering with companies such as AT&T in New Jersey, the Lifeline Telephone Discount Program provides savings in the form of a credit on basic telephone rates. This government service is for families that have an income that is at or below 150% of the federal government poverty level or that are on other benefits, such as section 8 housing or SNAP food stamps.
Passaic County Social Services is also an application site for the Social Security Administration Disability Programs. This is for those residents with a condition that prevents them from working, over either the short or long term. SSDI as well as Title XVI, or SSI, provide the qualified individual with a small amount of monthly cash payments for their everyday bills. Medical eligibility needs to be proven to enroll into a disability program.
Additional social services are available to residents. Clients can be the under or unemployed or just a family that is struggling and needs some guidance. Social workers from Passaic County will conduct an initial needs assessment. They will them refer the resident to either public aid or local non-profits that offer Emergency Assistance (EA), such as back rent/mortgage assistance, resources for mental health problems, shelters, relocation assistance, and much more.
The main phone number, and intake office, is at 80 Hamilton Street, Paterson, NJ 07505-2057. Social Services can be reached at (973) 881-0100.
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