State anti-hunger legislation advances

Three bills aimed at reducing hunger in the Garden State recently cleared key Assembly and Senate Committees. All of these measures embrace recommendations Hunger Free New Jersey made through its recent SNAP project, which engaged dozens of stakeholders across the state to identify barriers to SNAP (food stamps) participation and advance solutions to make the program more accessible to needy residents.

Here is a quick summary of the bills with links to the full text:

A-6007 would make it easier for college student to qualify for SNAP. Under the bill, students would only have to work 10 hours per week – instead of 20 — to be eligible. They would also be eligible if they are receiving unemployment compensation.

S-1135 would require the New Jersey Department of Human Services to develop a plan to increase SNAP outreach to college students, including compiling, preparing and disseminating information about eligibility requirements, program benefits and application procedures.

S-2894 would require the New Jersey Department of Human Services to conduct a survey of SNAP recipients to evaluate the experience of applicants and beneficiaries. The survey is to include, at a minimum, questions concerning the applicant’s experience navigating the SNAP application process, any difficulties the applicant encountered in the application process, the availability of consumer support at the county welfare agency and how well the applicant’s questions and concerns were addressed by staff at the county welfare agency. The goal is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each county welfare agency in processing SNAP applications.

We grateful to Legislative leaders and the bill sponsors for championing these important measures. We will keep you posted of their progress.

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