Hunger & COVID
Addressing Hunger During Outbreak
There have been significant state and federal responses aimed at addressing hunger during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here is the latest info about state and federal response to help fend off rising hunger during the pandemic.
The ABCs of P-EBT.
Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) is a program to help families buy food for their children when they were learning remotely or in a hybrid situation (both at home and in school). You can use P-EBT benefits to purchase food items.
The NJ Department of Human Services has taken several steps to make the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) and other assistance more readily available:
- Waiving the interview requirement,
- Waiving signatures on hardcopy applications,
- Providing additional benefits to households,
- Granting a six-month exemption to recertify for people already receiving SNAP,
- Exempting SNAP and WorkFirst New Jersey recipients from attending work or training programs.
New SNAP Applicants
The New Jersey Department of Human Services is encouraging residents in need to apply for SNAP food assistance or cash assistance online at NJHelps.org.
SNAP provides monthly benefits through Electronic Debt Transfers (EBTs) for recipients to buy food at grocery stores and other retail outlets. For more info, visit NJSNAP.org.
Yes! NJ SNAP recipients can use their benefits card to shop Amazon, Walmart, ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, is providing flexibilities to help pregnant women, mothers of young children, infants and toddlers receive assistance. The New Jersey Department of Health, which administers WIC, is has waived requirements that people physically come to the office for initial approvals and re-certifications.
Even though many schools are serving meals to all children for free during the pandemic, it is still important for parents to complete the school meal applications.
These applications are used for several purposes, including:
- Determine whether a student is eligible to receive free or low-cost school meals,
- Identify students that qualify for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). This monthly benefit of about $99 is available to students in kindergarten through 12th grade whose school is operating on a remote schedule. Children must be enrolled in the School Lunch Program to be eligible.
- Determine state and federal funding that supports many of your child’s education programs
To make it easier for school districts to serve children during remote learning, the USDA has relaxed a host of rules that normally govern the various child nutrition programs.
Apply for SNAP
Many changes have been made to make it easier to apply for SNAP and to receive more money each month to buy food. SNAP recipients can also now shop online. SNAP is one of the most effective anti-hunger programs during good times and bad.