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Department of Human Services

NJ Human Services Implements $50 SNAP Minimum Benefit as SNAP Federal Emergency Allotments Set to Expire in February

Beginning March 1, SNAP households will see change in monthly benefit amounts 

January 19, 2023

(TRENTON) Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that beginning in March, all households eligible for the NJ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive a minimum $50 monthly benefit following the end of federal SNAP emergency allotments in February. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP households have benefited from emergency allotments from the federal government, which provided households with higher monthly food assistance benefits and totaled more than $2 billion.  Starting in March, SNAP households will only get their regular SNAP payment loaded to their EBT card.

Recognizing the challenges families continue to face affording healthy and nutritious food and groceries, Governor Murphy signed legislation in June to establish the State SNAP Minimum Benefit Program and to set a SNAP minimum benefit ensuring all SNAP recipients will receive at least $50 per month in assistance now that the federal emergency allotments are ending. New Jersey is the first state to set a minimum benefit, which required an $18 million investment in state funds.

“We are immensely grateful to Governor Murphy, Speaker Coughlin and the legislature for providing this critical funding to help New Jerseyans with the rising cost of groceries as federal SNAP emergency allotments come to an end nationwide. We understood the extra SNAP benefits were temporary, but we also recognize the impact this will have on New Jerseyans who have benefitted from greater assistance over the last three years. I urge SNAP households to check their benefits, so they are prepared before heading to the grocery store. Those that need additional assistance can visit nj211.org to learn about other available resources,” said Commissioner Adelman.

SNAP emergency allotments were authorized by the U.S. Congress beginning in March 2020 to help individuals and families with low-incomes deal with the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 recently signed by President Biden ends SNAP emergency allotments on February 28, 2023. This means that, by March 2023, benefits for all SNAP households in New Jersey will return to normal amounts.

 “We are working with stakeholders to raise awareness about these changes and ensure SNAP households are informed and know ahead of time what their monthly benefit will be starting in March, so they can budget accordingly. While it does not replace the extra emergency benefits, the new $50 minimum benefit means no one eligible for SNAP will receive less than $50 in food benefits,” said Deputy Commissioner of Social Services Elisa Neira.

Under the new minimum benefit program, if a SNAP household was approved for less than $50 in SNAP benefits ($23 is the minimum federal SNAP benefit), they will receive their regular monthly benefit plus an additional state supplement to bring them to $50.

For example, if a single-person household was determined eligible for $23, they will receive their regular monthly benefit of $23 and an additional state supplement of $27 to bring them to $50.

“New Jersey's policies that advance food security are some of the strongest in the country thanks to Governor Murphy, Speaker Coughlin and the Legislature.,” said Director of the Office of the Food Security Advocate Mark Dinglasan. “These policies will matter even more as federal SNAP emergency allotments come to an end.  We will continue to work together to ensure individuals and families are equipped with the information and resources they need to navigate the changes ahead.”

The Department will mail notices in February to all SNAP households advising them of the benefit reduction along with a reminder of their regular benefit amount resuming in March.

The Department has also developed materials in multiple languages about the end of the SNAP emergency allotments and what it means for SNAP households, as part of its public awareness campaign. Materials are available for download at NJSNAP.gov

The notice will indicate the household’s regular benefit so recipients will know what their benefit will be starting March 1. We encourage SNAP recipients to also check their benefit detail any time online at www.njfamiliesfirst.com, with the Connect EBT mobile app or by calling (800) 997-3333,” said Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs Human Services’ Division of Family Development, which is responsible for the SNAP program.

Currently, the benefit detail indicates their regular benefit and the extra emergency benefit separately. SNAP recipients who remain eligible for the program will only receive their regular benefit of at least $50 beginning in March.

SNAP recipients worried about the overall reduction in benefits should check their eligibility for other food assistance programs including WIC for women and children under 5, free or reduced school meals, or the commodity supplemental food program for older adults over 60 years of age. For more information about additional food resources, visit nj211.org/food-programs-and-community-resources or text your zip code to 898-211.

As of November 2022, there were approximately 769,000 individuals enrolled in SNAP from 397,000 households.

 

SNAP Recipients as of November 2022

 

Households

People

County

 

 

ATLANTIC

19,488

37,583

BERGEN

22,640

38,181

BURLINGTON

10,341

20,180

CAMDEN

37,516

73,110

CAPE MAY

4,142

7,906

CUMBERLAND

12,686

26,350

ESSEX

66,961

125,443

GLOUCESTER

8,336

15,847

HUDSON

49,337

92,143

HUNTERDON

2,037

3,367

MERCER

19,310

35,512

MIDDLESEX

27,933

51,693

MONMOUTH

16,265

28,557

MORRIS

8,620

14,380

OCEAN

20,036

57,140

PASSAIC

35,847

73,576

SALEM

4,042

8,437

SOMERSET

5,772

10,525

SUSSEX

2,138

4,096

UNION

20,164

37,408

WARREN

3,752

7,150

 

 

 

NJ TOTAL

397,363

        768,584

 

The Department will continue to update SNAP households about any changes to their monthly benefits.

Individuals and families can apply for SNAP online, in-person or by calling their local board of social services, or through a SNAP Navigator. For more information about SNAP, visit NJSNAP.gov.

The Murphy Administration has made fighting hunger and strengthening food security a top priority. The NJ Department of Human Services last year distributed more than $2 billion in additional monthly SNAP payments to help low-income families afford food and other essentials.  The Department has also modernized the SNAP application and expanded SNAP navigators in every county as part of a broader effort to make SNAP more accessible to all New Jerseyans facing hunger.