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Pou Bill to Clarify SNAP Benefits Eligibility for Certain Non-Citizens Clears Health Committee

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Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou that seeks to clarify confusion among certain non-citizens regarding the so-called “public charge rule,” and its impact on SNAP benefits, and that would enlist the Department of Human Services to engage in outreach efforts to encourage enrollment cleared the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

“Many residents who live and work in New Jersey and who are eligible to receive SNAP benefits are missing out on this relief because they are hesitant to enroll for fear of repercussion,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “This bill will help to assuage those fears and serve as a mechanism to educate people on SNAP eligibility that might help families to sustain their basic nutritional needs and well-being.”

The bill, S-1294, would require DHS to lead in outreach efforts to ensure that all non-citizens are made aware of how participation in the New Jersey SNAP program may or may not affect their admission or adjustment status, and which types of non-citizens are exempt from the “public charge rule.”

Non-citizens exempt from the “public charge rule” include:

  •  refugees,
  • asylees,
  • Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas,
  • certain nonimmigrant trafficking and crime victims,
  • individuals applying under the federal “Violence Against Women Act,”
  • special immigrant juveniles, and
  • those to whom the United States Department of Homeland Security has granted a waiver of public charge inadmissibility

The legislation was released from committee on a vote of 7-0.