Entitlement Programs May Ease Financial Burdens
The state's welfare reform program, WorkFirst NJ, emphasizes work as the first step toward building a sustainable and stable future. The goal of the program is to help people get off welfare, secure employment and become self-sufficient, through job training, education and work activities.
WFNJ provides temporary cash assistance and many other support services to families through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Cash benefits and support services to individuals and couples with no dependent children are available as well through the General Assistance (GA) program. Services under WFNJ are limited to five years.
Under the supervision of the NJ Division of Family Development (DFD), the 21 County Board of Social Services administer the TANF and GA programs. Contact your County Board of Social Services to determine if you are eligible.
Emergency Assistance (EA)
WFNJ clients may receive emergency assistance in certain situations. Benefits under this program include, but are not limited to: essential food, clothing, shelter and household furnishings; temporary rental assistance or back rent or mortgage payments; utility payments (such as heat, water, and electric); transportation to search for housing; and moving expenses.
Eligible persons include those who are homeless or at immediate risk of becoming homeless, and those who have experienced a substantial loss of housing, food, clothing or household furnishings due to fire, flood or similar disaster. EA is limited to 12 months, though extensions may be granted under certain hardship circumstances. Contact your County Board of Social Services to apply for EA.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The state also provides financial assistance and services to those who are 65 years and older or disabled. This program is also managed by the County Board of Social Services.
Once applications have been received for WFNJ programs you will participate in a personal interview. Should you have questions before that time, you are advised to call ahead and make an appointment to meet with a caseworker. Caseworkers have been trained to assist you and are most familiar with all eligibility and program requirements.
Legal Services/SSI Initiative
WFNJ recipients who may be eligible for federal SSI benefits can receive free legal help. Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ) assists those who may be eligible for SSI benefits by helping them file or appeal a denial of benefits.
The project primarily targets WFNJ recipients who currently receive a medical deferral from work requirements for at least 12 months or those who are participating in the Emergency Assistance Pilot for the Long-Term Chronically Impaired. Recipients may call the LSNJ toll-free number 877.576.5774 for assistance.