Murphy doubles monthly SNAP benefit as federal aid ends

New Jersey will raise how much it gives to help food insecure families pay for groceries before emergency federal funding expires at the end of this month.

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a law nearly doubling the minimum monthly benefit payment for SNAP, or food stamps, from $50 to $95.

Murphy said the new program will tackle food insecurity offsetting the rising cost of food and groceries since the beginning of the pandemic.The bill requires companies to pay temporary workers minimum wage after deductions for food and meals, improving conditions for thousands of immigrants.

“There is no doubt that families are still recovering from the challenges of the past several years, many families who were never before in need of state benefits found themselves in a position where they needed a little or maybe even more, extra help,” Murphy said.

The federal government provided assistance to people needing SNAP in March 2020 “to offer a temporary boost.” Murphy said the new program won’t totally make up for the reduction in federal benefits but it is intended to give supplemental support.

“This increase will help cushion the reduction that thousands of families will see when the federal emergency allotment ends at the end of this month. And the increase will continue to support those families most in need,” Murphy said.According to the Department of Human Services (DHS), about 770,000 people in New Jersey receive SNAP benefits.

The department said it plans to use state funds to raise public awareness about the new benefits increase.

“Access to healthy food is a must,” said DHS Commissioner Sarah Adelman.

People can check the status and details about their benefits at the New Jersey Families First website.