In spite of its proximity to the financial district of New York, New Jersey still offers a more affordable cost of living.
However, this does not do much for single mothers who need more than affordability to keep their heads above water.
With almost a third of single mothers in New Jersey live in poverty, most struggle to provide even the bare necessities for their families.
Through NJ’s state programs, anyone with a need is eligible to receive assistance, such as food, cash benefits, subsidized child care, and more.
New Jersey EITC is enacted to supplement the federal EITC, an income tax credit for low-income working residents that rewards work and boosts the pay of families across the country.
Not only it reduces the amount of tax you owe, it may also give you a refund, even if you owe no tax. Most residents are eligible for the NJEITC if they were eligible to receive a federal EITC.
Working New Jerseyans are currently eligible to receive 37% of the federal benefit received through the state EITC. For example, if your federal EITC is $3,000, the amount of your NJEITC will be $1,110.
To receive the NJEITC, you must file a New Jersey Gross Income Tax Resident Return (Form NJ-1040) using information from your Federal 1040.
New Jersey SNAP — formerly Food Stamps, enables eligible low-income individuals and families to receive cash benefits to help pay for food. The maximum monthly benefit is $116 for a single individual and up to $367 for a family of three.
Most families with gross income up to 185% of the federal poverty level or about $3,200 a month for a single mother of two, qualify for SNAP benefits.
Go to NJHelps.com to pre-screen your eligibility. This is a quick and easy way to find out if you qualify. If eligible, you’ll receive your benefits through the “Families First” card.
WorkFirst NJ, the state’s welfare program, is the cash assistance program for poor families with children under age 18. The program goal is to help them get off of welfare and become self-sufficient through job training, education and work activities.
WorkFirst NJ limits assistance to a maximum of 5 years over a participant’s lifetime, with certain exceptions. The elderly, disabled persons, and children under age 18 are exempt from this limit.
WorkFirst NJ recipients may receive Emergency Assistance (EA) in certain situations, such as being at risk of becoming homeless or a substantial loss of housing, food, or clothing due to fire, flood or similar disaster.
The state also has another program for single adults and couples without dependent children who have little or no income, known as WorkFirst NJ General Assistance (WFNJ/GA).
NJ FamilyCare is federal and state funded health insurance program that helps qualified New Jersey residents afford health insurance — which under the ACA, has been revised to include CHIP and Medicaid.
As New Jersey is expanding Medicaid coverage, NJ FamilyCare is now available to eligible adults age 19-64 with income up to 133% of the federal poverty level. For children, NJ FamilyCare covers up to 350% of the poverty level.
For most families, NJ FamilyCare will be free. Others will pay a monthly premium based on their income and small co-payments for some services. 1
NJ Cares for Kids provides subsidized childcare voucher payments2 for working families and full time students who meet the guidelines mandated by the state of New Jersey — primarily, families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level.3
This childcare subsidy will assist you to pay for childcare for infants, toddlers, preschool-age children, school-age children up to age 13, and for children with special needs up to age 19.
To be eligible, you must meet the strict income requirement and be employed full time for a minimum of 30 hours per week or be enrolled in a school/training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week.
Transitional Child Care
If you participated in Work First New Jersey, you may be eligible for extended child care benefits for up to 24 months after you leave welfare. You’ll pay part of the cost of child care (a “co-pay” or fee), the amount of which may vary depending on your income.
For more information, call
Charity Care is the state program for low-income people in New Jersey who do not have full health care coverage and who are not eligible for programs like Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare.
Families with incomes not exceeding 200% of the federal poverty level may qualify for free hospital care. Those above the limit may receive reduced cost care where you only have to pay a portion of your hospital bill.Advertisement
If you’re eligible for this program, you should apply for Charity Care at the hospital where you receive the service, usually in the hospital’s business office.
For more information, please call the Health Care for the Uninsured Program during business hours at 1-866-588-5696.
NJ WIC serves New Jersey’s youngest residents and their families at risk for poor nutrition and medically related health problems as well as families experiencing unemployment and other interim family financial hardships.
It provides special checks or vouchers for buying healthy foods to supplement their diet. Other benefits include nutrition education, breastfeeding support, free screening and referral to health care.
For information about your local WIC agency and how to apply
Call 1-866-44 NJ WIC or 1-866-446-5942 for
The State of New Jersey Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) is a state funded program that provides housing subsidies on behalf of extremely low-income residents — elderly, family with children, and the disabled.
Applicants must meet the income limits4 of the county where they are being subsidized and provide proof of residency. Applicants must have resided in New Jersey for at least six months prior to applying for SRAP.
To apply for SRAP, go to https://www.waitlistcheck.com/NJ559 during the open enrollment period and follow the given instructions to submit a pre-application. If selected, you’ll be placed on the waiting list.
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
Applicant Services Unit (ASU)
The state of New Jersey’s LIHEAP is designed to help very low-income households with their utility bills — helping them stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, the applicant household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent; and have gross income not exceeding 200% of the federal poverty level.
For further information on LIHEAP or to locate the nearest application agency, call 1-800-510-3102. Additional information about LIHEAP, including an application, is also available at www.energyassistance.nj.gov.
New Jersey SHARES is another energy assistance program that assists households who do not qualify for LIHEAP and whose income does not exceed 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Eligibility is determined by income and household size. Applicants must demonstrate a temporary financial need and make a good-faith payment of $100 or more within 90 days of applying for NJ SHARES.
If eligible, you may receive grants up to $700 for gas and $500 for electric service. To apply for the New Jersey SHARES program, please call toll-free 1-866-NJSHARES (1-866-657-4273).
Unemployment benefits are a safety net for those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own — providing weekly cash benefits of up to $696 to those who qualify.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work during each week in which you are claiming benefits.
New Jersey is one of the first states that provides paid leave benefits for employees who need to “take time off” to bond with a newborn baby or provide care for a seriously ill family member.
Effective July 1, 2020, employees may receive up to 12 continuous weeks of benefits. This is a significant increase from the six (6) weeks that employees were previously entitled to.
The Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) Program is one of largest and most generous financial aid programs, with nearly one in every three full-time New Jersey undergraduates receiving awards.
Part-time TAG is also available for students who are enrolled for 6-11 credits in approved county colleges. The amount of the grant varies depending on student need, cost of attendance and available funding.
To be considered for a TAG award, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed each year within established NJ deadlines and meet all other program requirements.
NJ STARS is an initiative created by the State of New Jersey that provides New Jersey’s highest achieving students with free tuition at their home county college.
Students who rank in the top 15% of their class at the end of either junior or senior year of high school may be eligible to receive an NJ STARS award.
NJ STARS students must attain with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher to meet the academic requirement for renewal or graduate with GPA of 3.50 or higher to qualify academically for the NJ STARS II program.References
- NJ FamilyCare – Income Eligibility and Cost
- Under the NJ Cares for Kids, you must pay part of the cost of your child care [co-payment].
- NJ DHS, Child Care Income Eligibility Chart
- The maximum income limits that are in effect for each county now.
- How many weeks do you get for maternity leave in NJ?
- Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Family Leave Insurance – Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR)
- Full-time TAG Award Table.
- The information on your FAFSA is used to calculate a New Jersey Eligibility Index (NJEI) which determines your financial eligibility for this award.