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Ruiz Bill Would Establish New WFNJ Menstrual Hygiene and Diaper Benefit Pilot Programs

Trenton – The Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee unanimously advanced legislation today sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz that would establish the State Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Menstrual Hygiene Benefit Pilot Program and the State WFNJ Diaper Benefit Pilot Program.

The bill, S-2330, establishes both pilot programs in the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services.

“The cost of diapers and period products can be a substantial portion of a family’s monthly budget. Anecdotally, providers have shared stories with me of parents purchasing larger diapers for their infants with the intent of the diapers lasting longer to make ends meet. These actions are taken in an effort to save money but pose risks to a baby’s well-being,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex/Hudson).

“Investing in a menstrual and diaper hygiene benefit pilot program is not just about providing these essential supplies; it’s about supporting families in need and ensuring the health of our most financially vulnerable citizens,” added Senator Ruiz. “Easing the financial burden these essentials put on New Jersey residents will reduce the impact of period and diaper poverty and help all families maintain their hygiene with dignity.”

Under the State WFNJ Menstrual Hygiene Pilot Program, a monthly State benefit of $14 would be distributed to each participating individual who menstruates and is between 18 and 50 years old. Menstrual hygiene products include tampons, menstrual cups, and sanitary napkins.

Recent studies found that two in five people who menstruate experience “period poverty,” or the inability to afford or access the necessary menstrual products needed to manage a period.

Under the State WFNJ Diaper Benefit Pilot Program, the division will distribute to each participating individual a monthly state benefit of $30 for each dependent under 36 months old.

Nationally, diapers cost families about $100 per month, per child, on average.

The monthly benefits will be distributed to a participating individual’s WFNJ electronic benefits card.

Each pilot program would conclude after one year.

The bill cleared committee in an 8-0 vote.