Food Stamp Program
(now referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP))

Total Stimulus Appropriation: $20,000,000,000.
New Jersey’s Portion: Although there is no limit on an amount a state may access, New Jersey’s share is estimated at $91 million annually. There is no state expenditure required to access these funds.
Allocation Method: Federal formula. New Jersey’s share is based upon the number of eligible household participation over the next twelve months and the value of benefit increases.
Program Overview
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), known in New Jersey as the Food Stamp Program is a nutrition program and is a safety net for low income households. This program is federally regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture/Food and Nutrition Services, which also sets the maximum income levels for eligibility every year in October. This program is administered by the County Welfare Agencies under supervision by the Division of Family Development.

Prior to April 1st, 2009, the average household food stamp monthly payment totaled $246. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) increased this average payment amount by 13.6% for eligible families. The ARRA also mandated that this increase continue until the annual cost of living adjustments provided by the Food and Nutritional Service (FNS) exceeds the increase percentage contained in the ARRA to ensure that benefit amounts do not drop.
Food stamp benefit funds are provided under a separate agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and New Jersey’s private electronic benefit (EBT) processor. These benefits are issued based on a household’s income and resources in the form of electronic benefits—similar to a debit card.
Federal Requirements and Restrictions
The increase in the Food Stamp benefits was required to be implemented in time for the April 1, 2009 issuances.  New Jersey successfully met this requirement.
Program Eligibility
The eligibility for this program has not changed under ARRA. The change was only to the benefit allotment for Food Stamp households.
Important Program Dates
March 20, 2009 – The information technology systems mass change for the Food Stamp allotment was completed.

April 1, 2009 – New allotment amounts were made available to Food Stamp households.
For more detailed information or to apply online, please visit the New Jersey Department of Human Services website.
Additional information on the SNAP Program is available on the federal USDA, Food and Nutrition Service website.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Food Stamps
Q: Under ARRA were there any eligibility changes to the SNAP (food stamps) program?
A: No. Eligibility criteria for Food Stamps did not change.
 
Q: What was the difference in the monthly food stamp allotment as of April 1st? 
A:  Effective April 1, 2009, the allotment was increased by 13.6%.
For example: If there were 3 people in a household and the benefit is $250 each month. In April, the new benefit amount received became $284 each month.
($250x13.6%=$34.00. So, $250+ $34=$284.00).

Q: Did recipients have to reapply or call someone to get the increased amount? 
A: No. The increase was automatically added for all food stamp recipients based on eligibility status.
 
Q:  Were all households eligible for this increase? 
A:  Yes. Every household receiving food stamps was eligible for this increase.

Q:  Were there be any back benefits issued to Food Stamp households? 
A:  No. The increase was effective April 2009 forward.

Q:  Was there a corresponding increase in the income guidelines for those receiving food stamps? 
A:  No. The income guidelines will not change until October 1, 2009.

Q:  Will the food stamp allotments change on October 1, 2009? 
A:  No. At this time, there is no increase in the allotment for October 2009.