In New Jersey, the Food Stamp Program is also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Many people who are eligible for Food Stamps/SNAP don’t know it. Many families qualify for the program, even if they work, own a home, or own a car. The following information can help you figure out if you might qualify for the program.
Aren’t food stamps/SNAP just for people on welfare?
No. Most people who are eligible for food stamps/SNAP are not receiving WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ) welfare benefits.
Can I get food stamps/SNAP if I work?
Yes. Even if you are working, if your household income is below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, you might qualify for food stamps/SNAP, depending on your expenses.
How do I know if I can get food stamps/SNAP?
Households must first meet an income test.For most, this means a gross income of less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). (See chart below.) If you meet this test, the agency will then take into account your expenses, such ashousing costs and child care costs, and look at how much money you have left for food. Ifyour income is less than the net income listed on the chart below, you should be found eligible for food stamps. If you are approved, and chooseto receive food stamps,you will have to comply with the program’s work requirements unless you are exempt.
There are some situations where the 185% gross income threshold does not apply. For example, ahousehold with an elderly person or a person who is receiving certain types of disability payments may be eligible for Food Stamps/SNAP even if their income is above 185% FPL, if they have high housing costs or medical expenses. Also, if the agency finds that you previously committed an intentional program violation, such as failing to meet the work requirement, they will change the gross income requirement to130%FPL, rather than 185%.
The chart below can help you figure out if you meet the income requirements for the Food Stamp/SNAP Program.
Household Income Limits for Food Stamps/SNAP
Gross Monthly Income Limits at 130% of the FPL **
Gross Monthly income at 185% of the FPL *
Net Monthly Income Limits (100% FPL) ***
Each additional person
* This is the level applied to most households.
** This level is applied when a household has committed a prior intentional program violation.
*** This limit applies after taking certain expenses (deductions) into account.
Once I meet the gross income test, how do they determine my net income?
If you meet the gross income test, the agency will then factor in your expenses to determine how much money you have available for food. The following deductions will apply:
A 20 percent deduction from earned income.
A “standard” deduction (between $177and $246per month, depending on your household size).
A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education— for children or other dependents.
Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 per month, if they are not paid by insurance or someone else.(Video) Vincent - LSNJ Helps Terminally Ill Client With Tax Debt, Disability Benefits, and Food Programs
Legally owed child support payments.
Excess shelter costs that are more than half of the household’s income after the other deductions. Allowable costs include the cost of fuel used to heat and cook, electricity, water, the basic fee for one telephone, rent or mortgage payments, and taxes on the home. (Most households will get a set deduction for utilities of $583per month if they pay for heating and cooling costs.) The total shelter deduction cannot exceed $597per month, unless the household members are elderly or disabled.
If I qualify for food stamps/SNAP, how much will I receive?
Benefits for all households are adjusted each October. As of July, 2022 SNAP households may receive an additional temporary boost in benefits due to the pandemic, determined on a month to month basis.
People in Household
Maximum Monthly Food Stamp/SNAP Allotment
Each additional person
How do I apply for food stamps/SNAP?
The food stamp/SNAP office must give you an application on the same day that you ask for one. You may ask for it in person, over the phone, or by mail. You may also ask someone else to get one for you. The office must accept the form on the same day you turn it in, even if they cannot interview you on that day.
Fill in your name, address, telephone number, and as much other information as possible on the form. Make sure to sign it. Take or mail the form to the food stamp/SNAP office as soon as possible. A food stamp/SNAP worker can help you fill out the rest of the form during your interview. You can also submit an application online.
You can use NJ’s online calculator tool to see if you are eligible, and you can complete an online application at the NJHelps website. You’ll still need to have an interview and will need to submit verification for some of the information in your application.
Do I have to go the welfare office for an interview?
Not necessarily. While everyone must have an interview, most people who apply for Food Stamps/SNAP can have an interview over the telephone if getting to the office is a hardship for you. Applicants who are working, elderly or disabled are eligible for telephone interviews. You will still need to submit paperwork and documents to verify information, but this can be done by mail if you can’t get to the office.
How long does it take to receive food stamps/SNAP?
If you qualify for food stamps/SNAP, you should get them no later than 30 days from the date the office got your application.
If your household has little or no money and needs help right away, you may be eligible for expedited food stamps/SNAP. This means that the food stamp/SNAP office must give you food stamps/SNAP within seven days of the date you apply.
The food stamp/SNAP office will usually not interview you on the same day that you turn in the application. After you have turned in your application, the food stamp/SNAP office will give you a date for an interview. They will contact you by telephone or mail with an interview time and date. If you can’t make the interview, contact the food stamp/SNAP worker right away.
During the interview, a food stamp/SNAP worker will explain the program rules and help you complete any parts of the application that you have not filled out. The worker will also ask you for proof of certain information you have given. If you have trouble getting papers (documents) or information you need, the worker may be able to help you. If the papers are not easy to get, you may give the name of someone, such as your employer, who can confirm your statements.
How will I know if I am eligible for food stamps/SNAP?
After your interview, the food stamp/SNAP office will send you a notice. If you do not qualify for food stamps/SNAP, the notice will explain why. If you do qualify, the notice will explain how much your food stamp/SNAP benefit will be. It will also tell you how long you can get food stamps/SNAP before you must reapply.
If you think that your application has been wrongly denied or that you have not received the correct amount of food stamps/SNAP, you should tell the office. If they do not agree, you can ask for a fair hearing to challenge the decision. Contact your local Legal Services office or LSNJLAWSM, Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline, at 1-888-LSNJLAW (1888-576-5529) for more information.
Will I get stamps or coupons? How do I use food stamps/SNAP?
People who receive food stamps/SNAP don’t receive coupons anymore. Instead, the amount of the food stamps/SNAP is placed in an account. Food stamp/SNAP recipients receive a plastic Electronic Benefits Card, similar to an ATM card or a debit card. They then use this card at grocery stores and other places where food stamps/SNAP are accepted. The cost of the food is automatically deducted from the household’s food stamp/SNAP account.
I am working and my income changes every month. Do I have to go back to the food stamp/SNAP office each month?
Probably not. If you are working when you apply for food stamps/SNAP, you only have to report changes in earned income every six months, unless your income goes above the gross monthly income limit for your household size (see the Household Income Limits for Food Stamps/SNAP chart.) If your income goes above the gross monthly income limit, then you must report this change within 10 days. If you stop working, or start receiving income other than earnings, you will need to report that as well. If your income goes down, however, you can ask the food stamp/SNAP office to readjust your food stamps/SNAP to reflect the loss of income.
Every six months you will either get a letter for a recertification appointment, or you will receive an Interim Report Form by mail that you need to complete and send back by mail. It is very important that you complete that form and send it back as soon as possible after you receive it, so that your benefits continue. Keep a copy of the form and make a note of the day you returned it. If you have any questions about it, contact your caseworker.
Where can I apply?
Each county has at least one food stamp/SNAP office. The county offices are listed below. You must apply in the county where you live. You can apply in person at the food stamp/SNAP office, or you can call or write for an application. You can also ask someone else to get an application for you. Some food stamp/SNAP offices are open early in the morning or in the evening. After you submit the application, you (or your authorized representative) will need to go to the food stamp/SNAP office for an interview, unless it would be a hardship for you to go to the office. If it would be a hardship, the food stamp/SNAP office can arrange for an interview in your home or at another location.
New Jersey Food Stamp/SNAP Offices
Atlantic County Department of Family & Community Development
Bergen County Board of Social Services
Burlington County Board of Social Services
Camden County Board of Social Services
Cape May County Board of Social Services
Cumberland County Board of Social Services
Essex County Department of Citizen Services
Gloucester County Board of Social Services
Hudson County Division of Social Services
Hunterdon County Division of Social Services
Middlesex County Board of Social Services
Monmouth County Division of Social Services
Morris County Division of Employment & Temporary Assistance Services
Dover Office: Late hours — 4:30-6:30 PM
Ocean County Board of Social Services
Passaic County Board of Social Services
Salem County Board of Social Services
Somerset County Board of Social Services
Sussex County Division of Social Services
Union County Division of Social Services
Warren County Welfare Board
|Household Size||Max. Allowable Income|
Benefits of $42.02 per eligible child per month for September 2021- June 2022 were added to your Families First card from July 30 through August 12, 2022.
When applying for food stamps, you will be required to submit proof of your monthly income and liquid assets, but the agency you apply through will not look directly into your bank accounts to verify.
Temporary Emergency Supplemental Food Assistance Benefits
For October 2022, households will receive at least $95 in emergency benefits or the maximum benefit for your household size, whichever is greater.