As the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) federal emergency allotment from COVID-19 is set to expire on March 1, households may see a change in monthly benefit amounts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, households received higher allotments for SNAP but on March 1, households will begin receiving their regular payments. Seeing that families and individuals continue to face difficulty affording food, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation in June 2022 to establish the State SNAP Minimum Benefit Program that ensured that SNAP recipients receive at least $50 per month in assistance when the federal emergency allotments end. New Jersey is the first state to set a minimum benefit, which required an $18 million investment of state funds.
“These payments were and continue to be a lifeline for many New Jersey residents and families as the pandemic greatly impacted finances across the board,” said Commissioner Virginia Betteridge, liaison to the Camden County Board of Social Services. “I commend Gov. Murphy and other state leaders for recognizing that we cannot leave our residents without this critical resource once the federal benefits expired. Establishing a baseline for benefits will allow families and individuals to purchase nutritious food they need without worry.”
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.
Under the new minimum benefit program, if a SNAP household was approved for less than $50 in 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.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services will be mailing notices to all SNAP households in February to remind them of the change coming in March. Materials are available for download at NJSNAP.gov
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 Nov. 2022, there were approximately 769,000 individuals enrolled in SNAP from 397,000 households.
SNAP recipients are encouraged to check their benefit detail online at www.njfamiliesfirst.com with the Connect EBT mobile app or by calling (800) 997‐3333.