Assembly Approves Several Bills to Assist Homebound Individuals and People with Disabilities
(TRENTON) – The General Assembly today voted to approve Bill A2040, which would empower the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services (DHS) to seek authorization for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly referred to as food stamps, to be used to pay for the delivery fees associated with online grocery purchases. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Dan Benson and Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight, would provide a lifeline for residents who are unable to get to a grocery store or market, while eliminating additional financial burdens.
Under the proposed legislation, the DHS Commissioner would be empowered to seek authorization for SNAP benefits to not only pay for the purchase of eligible food items, but also to cover the associated delivery charges when utilizing online grocery platforms. This would both contribute to the economic well-being of online retailers and delivery service and foster a more inclusive approach to nutrition assistance.
“We are aiming to enhance the accessibility of essential food items for vulnerable populations, especially seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income families, who often need these resources the most,” said Assemblywoman McKnight (D-Hudson). “This bill is a step forward for food equity, ensuring that individuals who rely on SNAP benefits can also benefit from the convenience of online grocery shopping without incurring additional financial burdens.”
Three additional bills approved today are designed to bolster disability rights. Specifically, two of these bills aim to increase access to transportation for individuals with developmental disabilities and one would ensure that school districts have a specified course of action for students with developmental disabilities in the event of a fire or security drill or an actual emergency.
“The Assembly Democrats have long championed for the inclusivity of people with developmental disabilities,” said Assemblyman Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), who co-sponsored each of these bills. “The bills passed today have the dual benefit of connecting these individuals with resources they need to thrive and providing support to their caregivers.”
A1112 (Chapparo/Haider/Benson) would require DHS and other appropriate agencies to disseminate information on transportation options for people with developmental disabilities. Under the bill, these materials, which include pamphlets, other written materials, and/or websites, would be created using language and imagery that can be easily understood by people with developmental disabilities.
A5274 (McKnight/Benson/Stanley) would allow a motor vehicle operated by a person transporting an individual with an intellectual disability to park in spaces marked for persons with a physical disability. Specifically, the bill would enable a parent, primary caregiver, or immediate family member of a person with an intellectual disability to receive a special identification card and a placard to also have access to these spaces.
S2057/A1174 (Jasey/Benson/Quijano) requires schools to provide training to employees to address the unique needs of students with disabilities in the event of a fire drill, school security drill, or actual emergency situations. The bill further requires that a student’s needs in these particular events be maintained in the student record.