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HomenewsNew Jersey Could Expand Food Help for Thousands of Individuals Who Would...

New Jersey Could Expand Food Help for Thousands of Individuals Who Would Soon Lose Support Due to The Pandemic.

With enhanced pandemic-era cash aid for food expiring on February 28, the New Jersey state senate approved legislation on Thursday that would increase the minimum monthly household benefit from $50 to $95 per month, sending it to Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature.

Director of the non-profit Hunger Free New Jersey, Lisa Pitz, stated that the emergency increase to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of at least $95 per month has been a lifeline for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. She stated that SNAP has contributed $3 billion to the state’s economy since 2020.

However, the rise, which occurred at a time when millions of people lost their jobs, was always intended to be temporary. December’s passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act by Congress put an end to the emergency programme. Meanwhile, the administration of President Joe Biden stated this week that the COVID-19 public health emergency would terminate in May.

“The elimination of SNAP emergency allotments would place many New Jerseyans in crisis as they lose federal subsidies on which they have relied for the previous three years,” said Pitz following Thursday’s decision in Trenton. Thankfully, the New Jersey Legislature has a plan to assist these families and establish a safety net for people in our state who are struggling.

The measure (S3491) would raise the minimum monthly SNAP payout per household in New Jersey from $50 to $95. The bill also grants the commissioner of the state Department of Human Services the authority to increase the amount based on the state’s available funds.

Last week, the law was approved by the state Senate by a vote of 38-0 and the state Assembly by a vote of 72-5.

Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex, a primary sponsor of the bill along with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, stated, “With SNAP benefit reductions scheduled to take effect at the federal level at the end of February, many New Jerseyans would see their monthly benefits cut by nearly half if we do not act.”

According to Coughlin, the bill would assist 46 thousand homes throughout the state.

Last year, the state legislature enacted and Governor Murphy signed a measure that guaranteed SNAP households a minimum of $50 per month in aid.

In New Jersey, a state with a population of 9.2 million, 770,000 individuals rely on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Beneficiaries receive a debit card for the purchase of fruits and vegetables, beans, fish, chicken, and meat, bread, tortillas, cereal, milk, and cheese, as well as seeds and plants that generate food. According to the Human Services website, non-food goods such as diapers, vitamins, pet food, alcohol, and cigarettes are not permitted to be purchased with SNAP funds.

According to a budgetary study of the law, the average monthly payout per SNAP household enrolled in New Jersey in 2019 was $224.

“We must do everything possible to improve and extend New Jersey’s food security programmes as the cost of basic commodities continues to grow,” said Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez, D-Camden, another sponsor of the bill. This proposal will make permanent the temporary Federal SNAP boost, which has had a profoundly good impact on our communities.

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