Trenton – In an effort to ensure the State is maximizing its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Senate 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 state’s overall SNAP participation rate.
“SNAP is a great program that is not only a huge asset to many senior citizens struggling to make ends meet, but has also been proven to effectively stimulate local economies throughout the state,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “New Jersey SNAP benefits can be utilized in-store or online at ShopRite, Amazon, Walmart, the Fresh Grocer, and ALDI; however, this program is vastly underutilized, leaving many qualifying seniors without the assistance they need. In order to ensure that SNAP is being employed to the fullest extent possible, the process must be streamlined so qualifying seniors are able to receive their deserved benefits.”
The bill, S-1078, would require the Commissioner of Human Services to review and 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, with only four New Jersey counties reaching more than 70 percent of eligible seniors,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “More than half of our senior population is not receiving the assistance they qualify for, that is simply unacceptable. It is crucial that we do all that we can to assist our older residents in collecting the aid that is necessary for their wellbeing.”
Under the bill, the commissioner will 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 the Senate by a vote of 38-0 and sent to the Governor for final approval