Bills Designed to Increase Senior Participation in State Nutrition Aid Program Clear Assembly

Looking to simplify and streamline seniors’ access to the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a two-bill legislative package cleared the full General Assembly on Thursday.

The first bill (A-5311), passed 77-0, would establish a $140 standard medical deduction for qualifying seniors under the SNAP Program. It is sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Armato (D-Atlantic), Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) and Matthew Milam (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland).

Approved 76-0, the second measure (A-5312) would require the Commissioner of Human Services to review and streamline the SNAP application process for seniors and conduct outreach regarding their participation. It is sponsored by Assemblymen John Armato (D-Atlantic), Roy Freiman (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) and R. Bruce Land (A- Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland).

The legislators released the following joint statement:

“Less than half of New Jersey residents 60 and older who are eligible for SNAP benefits use them. These bills look to increase senior participation by simplifying the application process, allowing seniors to apply for SNAP through multiple points of entry, and utilizing a comprehensive community outreach and public awareness campaign.

“Taking these steps will make seniors more likely to take advantage of the SNAP benefits which can help them maintain a healthy diet.”

The bills were introduced on May 13, 2019 and complement an anti-hunger bill package introduced by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin last fall. The two measures now await further consideration from the Senate President.