To the tune of almost $400,000, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in New Jersey helps people buy healthy food. This Thursday, the Assembly voted 74 to 0 in favour of a bill that would permanently increase the minimum SNAP payout from $50 to $95.
Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) said, “No one’s first and foremost concern on any given day should be how to feed themselves and their family.”
“SNAP is essential for so many of our children, families, and elders because it is a programme that has been shown to minimise food insecurity among people with the fewest resources to purchase food.”
Assembly Speaker Coughlin, Assemblywoman McKnight, and Assemblywoman Lopez have introduced a measure (A-5086) that will provide $95.25 per month to SNAP recipients’ benefits by supplementing federal funding.
This is because, as of February 28th, the federal government’s emergency allotments for the pandemic, which temporarily increased SNAP to offer a minimum monthly benefit of $95 in response to the crisis, will no longer be in effect.
New Jersey’s state SNAP benefit floor was raised to $50 per month in 2023 according to legislation signed by the Governor in June 2022. The bill that was passed by the Assembly today builds on that and prevents a reduction of up to $45 in payments for nearly 46,000 SNAP households.
“People across the country are staring down a starvation cliff,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), the bill’s author and the chair of the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee.
Households headed by the elderly and those with physical impairments make up the majority of those in danger. We must take this action to ensure that seniors on limited incomes continue to have access to the fresh groceries they need to maintain their health.
Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, who introduced the legislation, said, “These are hard times as inflation affects people’s wallets, especially at the grocery shop” (D-Middlesex).
When those with low incomes enrol in SNAP, they no longer have to choose between paying the bills or putting food on the table. There’s no way we’re going to let that shift.
On January 19th, after Speaker Coughlin testified in favour of the bill, it was approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee with a unanimous vote of approval.
This is an area where we have received uniform, nonpartisan support in standing up for folks who are experiencing with food poverty,” Coughlin said, elatedly noting the strong support. Remarkably, we’ve been able to make people’s lives better.
The Senate companion to the bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), passed the Senate Economic Growth Committee today. The Senate needs to do something with the bill now.
The bill’s Senate companion, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), has been moving forward in the Senate Economic Growth Committee. The Senate has tabled the bill for further consideration.