New Jersey is one of only a few states that provide cash benefits and support services to individuals and couples with no children through the General Assistance (GA) program. The GA program is part of the state’s welfare to work program, WorkFirst NJ which emphasizes work as the first step toward building a new life and better future with the goal of helping people become economically self-sufficient through job training, education, and work activities. Services under WFNJ are limited to five years.
GA recipients receive a cash benefit as follows: $185 a month for an employable single adult, $277 a month for a disabled adult, $254 a month for a couple where one or both members of the couple are employable, and $382 a month for a couple where both are disabled.
GA recipients access their cash benefit through their Families First Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT Card) which works similar to a debit card. The Families First EBT card makes the benefit available to clients through electronic benefit accounts using their own plastic card. The cards can be used at merchants POS (Point-of-Sale) terminals and ATM’s.
If you need to replace a lost or stolen EBT card or if you need more information regarding the EBT card please click on the line below and refer to the EBT section of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on the drop-down menu.
Eligibility depends on several factors such as income, household size, resources, legal status, etc. To be eligible you must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Family’s income must be under the income limit
- Adults must be a Legal Permanent Resident for no less than 5 years – this requirement does not apply in certain cases
- Resources such as savings, checking accounts, bonds and immediate disposable assets must be below $2000.
Employable individuals will be required to participate in an Employment and Training Program.
Below are the income limits for the General Assistance program.
- Single Employable Adult – $185 a month
- Single Disabled Adult – $277 a month
- Couple – Employable – $254 a month
- Couple – Both Disabled – $382 a month
Where to Apply:
Most individuals in Bergen County who wish to apply for General Assistance may do so through the Bergen County Board of Social Services. However, the eleven municipalities listed below operate their own GA program. If you reside in one of these municipalities, you must contact the municipality at the telephone number provided to inquire how to apply.
Hillsdale: 201-664-7100 ext. 110
Westwood: 201-664-7100 ext. 110
All other individuals may apply in one of the three manners listed below:
In-Person: The agency is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. You may come in person and complete an application for our programs. After completing the application, and depending upon the program(s) you appear to be eligible to apply for, you will either be seen the same day or you will receive an appointment for an interview. Please note that the number of appointments available on a daily basis is limited and are assigned on a first come first served basis.
On-line: The most convenient way to complete an application is to apply online at the NJOneApp website. This site will allow you to complete a single on-line application for Food Stamps, cash assistance, and/or Medicaid for children, families, and pregnant women (New Jersey Family Care). Elderly and Disabled individuals are not eligible to apply for Medicaid through the on-line application process. The agency will receive the application electronically and contact you by mail within 7 business days to schedule an in-person interview.
Paper Application: You may complete a paper application and return the completed application to the agency. You will be sent an appointment letter in the mail.
Applicants who are applying for General Assistance are required to attend an in person interview. Once the interview is completed, customers will be provided with a list of required verifications. Once the verifications are received, the application will be processed and a final eligibility determination will be made. Customers will be notified by mail once an eligibility determination has been made. General Assistance applications are processed within Thirty (30) days of the date of application.
- Proof of birth, alien registration card or naturalization papers
- Social Security card
- Current lease or rent and utility bill
- Proof of most recent earned and unearned income
- Automobile registration
- 2 most recent checking and savings account statements.
- Other documents may also be requested at the interview.
General Assistance recipients are eligible for support services through the following programs:
Work First New Jersey Work Program: Provides social case management to all WFNJ participants to include transportation and costs for testing and uniforms. The unit also manages the work component of the case and implements a sanction if the individual is not in compliance.
Emergency Assistance Program: Provides temporary housing and shelter-related assistance for people who are eligible for TANF, GA or SSI. Some of the services provided include assistance paying back rent, mortgage and utilities, shelter, transitional housing, or motel payments, transportation, furniture, moving expenses, and eviction related costs.