Trenton – In an effort to ensure the state is maximizing its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Senators Linda Greenstein and Shirley Turner which would ensure that the number of senior SNAP participants either matches or exceeds the national average.
“SNAP is an amazing program that has proven to be a huge asset to many senior citizens struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “However, this program is vastly underutilized, with many qualifying seniors not receiving the assistance they should be getting. This bill would ensure that SNAP is being utilized to its fullest extent possible, helping as many New Jersey seniors as possible.”
The bill, S-1078, would require the Commissioner of Human Services to streamline the SNAP application process for senior citizens and conduct outreach regarding senior SNAP participation.
“A 2019 analysis from the Food Research & Action Center showed that only 48 percent of eligible seniors in New Jersey participated in SNAP in 2015; that means more than half of the population was left out,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “It is crucial that we do all that we can to assist our older residents in receiving assistance that is necessary for their wellbeing.”
Under the bill, the commissioner would be required to develop and make available a simplified SNAP application form for use by seniors, provide for the increased sharing of data between the state’s various social services programs, and authorize appropriate procedures to facilitate the enrollment of seniors in the State Medicaid program and SNAP.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.