Assistance Programs In New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has a population of just under 9 million with a poverty rate of 11.1%. This means that over 1 million people in New Jersey live in poverty, struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, there are numerous assistance programs offered by the state to make things easier for New Jersey residents. This guide will list and explain all the assistance programs available in New Jersey.

Financial Assistance in New Jersey

Many people struggle financially paying for all the bills and expenses needed to ensure their family has everything they need. Fortunately there are some financial assistance programs available.

New Jersey Work First (WFNJ)

This program is designed to help the low income single parents and families provide everything needed for their children as well as assist parents in finding adequate employment. This program will provide cash relief to assist with bills and expenses as well as assisting parents with job training and preparation.
To be eligible for this program you must be a resident of New Jersey, have a child under the age of 19 living on your household and be considered low income. To begin the application process you must contact your local Welfare Agency. To learn more about this program please click here.

General Assistance Program

New Jersey is one of the few states that offers general cash assistance even if you do not have any children. This program works similar to the above program with the only difference being you do not have to have any children.

To begin the application process you must contact your local Welfare Agency. To learn more about this program please click here.

New Jersey Unemployment Insurance

This program provides financial relief to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The amount you will receive depends on the amount you made with your most previous employer.
To be eligible for this program you must have worked in New Jersey in the last 18 months. You must apply though the NJ Online Claims portal. For more information check out this frequently asked questions page.

Food Assistance in New Jersey

New Jersey Supplental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP)

The NJ SNAP program provides low income single parents, families and individuals with food benefits to help pay for eligible food. The benefits are received on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card called the Families First card. Each money the card is reloaded with a pre determined amount of funds. The amount you receive depends on your income and household size.
To qualify for NJ SNAP you must be a legal resident of New Jersey and meet the income guidelines. Check out the NJ SNAP page to learn more about this program and to apply.

New Jersey Special Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children

The New Jersey WIC program provides numerous nutritious foods, nutrition advice, as well as health care advice for pregnant, postpartum women, and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be consider low income, and be deemed at a nutritional risk by a health care provider.

To be eligible for this program you must meet the income guidelines which can be found by clicking here. To apply for this program you must contact the your local WIC office.

New Jersey School Breakfast and Lunch Program

This program provides school children with free or low cost meals before the school day and at lunch time. The meals also include free milk.

To be eligible for this program you must be a resident of New Jersey and be considered low income. If you are already receiving NJ SNAP, your children will automatically be eligible for this program. Click here to look at the full income guidelines. To apply for this program you must contact the school that your child currently attends. Check out the NJ School Nutrition page for more info.

New Jersey Summer Food Service

The NJ Summer Food program provides free or low cost meals to children during the summer months when not attending school. To qualify for this program you must be a NJ resident and be considered low income. The income guidelines are the same as the above program.  Check out the NJ Summer Food Service webpage for more info.

Medical Assistance In New Jersey

One of the biggest expenses we are faced in the United States is medical expenses. Fortunately, New Jersey has a good Medicaid program.

New Jersey Medicaid Program

The New Jersey Medicaid is a medical assistance program for low income residents of New Jersey. This program provides free health care and services to qualifying New Jersey residents in a variety of areas such as:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • dental care

Depending on you and your family specification situation, not all services will necessarily be covered as you might be required to pay a portion of the costs through co-pay. Eligibility for Medicaid is tied to your income level in relation to the number of people living in your household. The income qualification limits are also based on the age group, as it is easier for children to qualify. Check out this NJ Medicaid Income Chart for a detailed chart on the income guidelines. To apply and to learn more check out the NJ Medicaid Webpage.

New Jersey Family Care (NJFC)

The NJFC program provides free medical assistance to children of families whose income is to high to qualify for Medicaid. All the same services that are covered under regular Medicaid are covered for this program. To be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of NJ and be of low income. The income guidelines are a lot lower then the actual Medicaid program, making it easier to qualify. To take a look at the income guidelines and to learn more about the program please click here.

Medicaid Expansion – Affordable Care Act

New Jersey is one of the states that have adopted the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. The Affordable Care Act makes it easier for residents of NJ to qualify for Medicaid, as the income levels required to qualify are lower.

Child Care Assistance in New Jersey

There is a high demand for child care in NJ leading to very high costs. This makes it difficult for single parents and low income families to afford child care, however there are some useful assistance programs available.

Work First New Jersey (WFNJ)

This program assists parents who are moving from welfare to a job with child care assistance. You are allowed to interview and choose your own child care providers, and this program will pay a portion of the child care costs. To learn more check out the WFNJ page.

State Subsidies for Child Care

Certain low income parents can receive subsidies to reduce their child care costs throughout the state. If you are currently on any welfare program you will be legible for this program. To learn more click here.

New Jersey Head Start Program

This program will provide a learning environment and supervision for children ages 0-5 to help enhance their emotional, cognitive, and social development. This program is only available to low income families. You are eligible based on your household income compared to how many people live in your household. To look at the income limits and to learn more check out this Head Start webpage.

Housing Assistance in New Jersey

Many low income single parents and individuals struggle to make their rent payments or any expenses related to their living space. Fortunately, there are several useful programs available in New Jersey.

New Jersey Low Income Housing Program

This program will allow residents across New Jersey to receive reduced rent payments in dwellings owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state, whether it be an apartment, single houses or condos. The State of New Jersey provides funding to local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).These local housing agencies will then use these funds to provide the low income families or single parents safe and sanitary housing with rent payments that they can afford to pay. The eligibility for these programs is based on income limits set by the state of New Jersey.

To begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of New Jersey Public Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across New Jersey. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.

New Jersey Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

The NJ Section 8 program makes it easier for low income single parents and families to be able to afford their housing of choice on the housing market. This program is somewhat similar to the Public Housing program except with this program you get to choose your home. It can be difficult locating a well priced apparent that is safe and sanitary, so this program enables you to afford high quality apartments. Once you have chosen your home, or if you already have a home you would like the rent assistance, the Housing Agencies provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent. Of course you have to be considered low income to qualify for this program which is done through the Public Housing agency. Just like the Public Housing Program,, you must apply through your local Housing Agency to get started. To learn more check out the NJ Section 8 Webpage.

Affordable Apartment Search

It can be difficult to find safe and sanitary apartments in NJ that are affordable to those of low income. You can use this affordable apartment locator to help you find affordable and sanitary apartments around NJ.

New Jersey Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The NJ LIHEAP program assists low income single parents, families, and individuals with their home energy bills. It can be very hot in the summer, and very cold in the winter in NJ, so as a result this program helps pay both heating and cooling bills.
To be eligible for this program you must be a resident of NJ meet the following income requirements. Check out the NJ LIHEAP page to learn more.

New Jersey Weatherization Assistance Program (NJWAP)

The NJ WAP program helps to reduce the amount of energy your home will use, making your home more energy efficient, which results in low energy bills. The program will help pay for any new air conditioning, or heating units more to make the home more energy efficient. To be eligible for this program you must be a resident of NJ and meet the income requirements. To learn more check out the NJ WAP webpage.

First Time Home Buyer Programs

The state of NJ offers programs that assist those looking to purchase their first home. These programs assist with down payments allowing you to qualify for a mortgage. Also, these programs offer steady, low interest rates on your mortgage. To learn more about this program please click here.

New Jersey Smart Start Mortgage Program

This program works in hand with the above program. This program offers down payment and/or closing cost assistance to those who are purchasing a house in a ‘Smart Growth’ area. You can receive assistance up to 4% of your mortgage. Check out the NJ Smart Start webpage.

Transportation Assistance in New Jersey

Getting around in highly population states such as New Jersey can be very expensive with getting around in big cities, especially when taking a taxi. There are a few things you can do to reduce your transportation costs.

Free Medical Transportation

You can receive free transportation to any doctors appointments, tests, and medical treatments you might have. There are a variety of these programs available that receive funding from the state of NJ. This program is available to anyone receiving Medicaid. Check out this link for more info.


Uber and Lyft are driving services that work similar to a cab or taxi however the drivers pick you up in their own vehicles. These services are a lot cheaper then cabs which can lead to a good savings over time.

Legal Assistance In New Jersey

Any sort of legal assistance can be very expensive making it next to impossible for the low income to afford any sort of legal assistance. Fortunately, you can find free or discounted legal assistance in NJ.

New Jersey Law Help Network

This organization features several different areas of legal advice and services you might need. It has a variety of information on how and where to find legal advice based your issue. Many of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and more. Check out the NJ Law Help webpage for more information.

The state of New Jersey puts a lot of effort into their assistance programs to help their residents get through time times. If you are of low income with children then you will more then likely qualify for many of the programs.

Links and Resources

Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state