Trenton – In an effort to help low-income residents pay for necessities not currently covered by social safety net programs, the Senate today advanced legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Renee Burgess to provide assistance for menstrual products and diapers under the Work First New Jersey program.
“Access to menstrual health products and diapers is not a luxury, but a basic necessity that every individual deserves. It is time for New Jersey to pass legislation that helps provide access to menstrual health products and diapers for those who have financial constraints,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “By expanding the Work First New Jersey program to allow for basic needs such as these to be met, we empower our communities to investment in their health, productivity, and future success. Together, let us build a more equitable and compassionate New Jersey where every person can thrive, regardless of their economic circumstances.”
The bill, S-3035, would establish a Menstrual Health Program and a Diaper Benefit Program, both housed under Work First New Jersey (WFNJ).
“Menstrual products and diapers can be costly, and as it stands no social safety net program is providing assistance for those specific products. This legislation will ensure WFNJ benefits are calculating in these important necessities for program recipients,” said Senator Burgess (D-Essex). “Especially as the cost of groceries and consumer goods continues to rise, it is imperative that our social services are taking into account all of the expenses of everyday life.”
Under the Menstrual Health Program, any WFNJ enrollee ages 18 to 50 would receive an additional $14 a month to spend on menstrual products. Any unspent funds would be carried over to the next month for the same purpose.
The Diaper Benefit Program would provide WFNJ enrollees a monthly state benefit of $30 for each dependent under 36 months of age.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 35-0.