2019 US Government Shutdown

NJ 2-1-1 is committed to helping our communities in recognition of the impact of the federal government shutdown on families. Furloughed federal employees and government contractors in need of social services and individuals with questions about the availability of public benefits can call 2-1-1 to get help. This webpage and information will be maintained and updated during the recovery process. 

We have worked in collaboration with our community partners to create a Resource Guide specifically designed to help those individuals and families in communities across New Jersey who are directly impacted by the 2019 US Federal Government Shutdown. Where no new resources could be found, we have included instructions on what terms to use to search our resource database for existing services that might satisfy your needs.

You can always call 2-1-1 when you need help. Our 2-1-1 specialists can help those in need connect to food pantries, health care services, and utility and eviction prevention assistance. Callers also can receive information on mental health counseling, transportation, job training, substance use recovery services, child care, and volunteer opportunities. 

NJ 2-1-1 is a free, confidential and multilingual information and referral service that connects people in need, to the resources that may help.  Our call center is open 24 hours a day and staffed with knowledgeable community resource specialists who will assist you. You may reach us by dialing 2-1-1; text your zip code to 898-211; or chatting with us online. To receive alerts about the shutdown text 'FEDSDNJ' to 898-211. 

SNAP Early Payment

Due to the federal government shutdown, all SNAP recipients will be receiving their February benefits early. Approximately 730,000 people in NJ depend on the critical assistance of the SNAP (food stamps) benefit. As it stands now, the February SNAP benefits will be paid on Thursday, January 17, 2019. These are the benefits for the entire month of February so individuals and families should budget with this in mind. Find out more information about this early payment by viewing the flyer in English and in Spanish

For ongoing updates on how the federal shutdown may impact your SNAP benefits, visit the NJ SNAP website

Unemployment Benefits

Furloughed federal employees in New Jersey may be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Find more about unemployment eligibility. Visit this website to initiate a New Jersey Unemployment Claim

Additional information about unemployment benefits for furloughed employees is available from OPM (The US Office of Personnel Management). 

FAQs regarding a government shutdown

A government shutdown brings a lot of unanswered questions and concerns for everyone, especially those who are directly affected by this shutdown. This Government Shutdown Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide provides answers to some of the most anticipated questions regarding the current government shutdown. 

Utility Assistance

There are several programs that offer support for paying utilities including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Universal Service Fund (USF). You will find a full description of these programs and information on how you can apply for help by going to the Utility Assistance Programs page of our website. Information about specific resources and assistance being provided by utility companies in response to the government shutdown are also included in our Guide.