Online Safety Net Tools and Applications, Part II

The purpose of this article is to alert you to a number of safety net applications that can be downloaded or completed directly online. They cover a variety of topics, including programs for seniors, financial assistance, child care, energy, utilities and welfare.

There is a section of this site’s community resource page known as the ‘Public Benefits Corner’ that provides links to a number of these online or downloadable applications. There are links for the following:

  • NJ FamilyCare application
  • Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), Senior Gold, and Medicare Savings Programs – programs for seniors
  • Child Support Services
  • Subsidized Child Care
  • LIHEAP/USF/Weatherization – one application to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Universal Service
    Fund (USF) and the Weatherization Assistance Program
  • Communications Lifeline program for Verizon landline customers
  • Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – how to find your local WIC agency
  • State Unemployment Insurance
  • State Temporary Disability Insurance
  • Transportation Programs for former TANF clients

Links to these safety net programs and applications are available in the
Public Benefits Corner of this website. Knowing where to go online is the first step.

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Discontent and Primary Election

An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer by Kevin Riordan their South Jersey columnist. The article is titled, “Discontent fuels progressive slate in Cherry Hill.” The introduction begins with the following: “This refreshing if not quite revolutionary political effort arises in part from concerns about the redevelopment of South Jersey’s signature suburb, but also is being propelled by worries about the direction of the Democratic Party and the nation itself.”

Kevin Riordan goes on to write, “The fact that the mainstream Cherry Hill Democrats have been supported for decades by a sophisticated, well-financed county party organization that cultivates generational loyalty has led, the progressives say, to a municipal government that is more insular and less transparent than it would like the public to believe.”

Many discontented citizens would probably agree with the above – irrespective of town or county you live in. Kevin Riordan said it in a polite manner. Others would be more plain by stating that major party county committees aka “political machines” are entrenched and always anxious to maintain their political power, absent any regard for the betterment or well-being of the people in the community. If you are angry with the current situation, then you should make sure you are registered to vote.

Tomorrow, May 16, is the last opportunity to register and vote in the June 6 Primary Election. You can obtain a Voter Registration Application which must be delivered or mailed/postmarked by tomorrow to your local county elections office.

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Employment Search Websites

The unemployment rate has dropped significantly in the past few years. However, don’t expect cheers from the 1.6 million in the United States who have been jobless for more than six months, or the out-of-work breadwinner in Cape May county where the unemployment rate currently stands at 14.1%.

One of the most read blog articles on this site is titled, “OnRamp – New Jersey Job Seekers Online Tool” and was posted in 2012. Today’s post is a revisit of current employment search tools and programs available to New Jersey job seekers.

The New Start Career Network was created in 2015 to help the long-term unemployed. They “provide older (ages 45+), long-term unemployed New Jersey job seekers with access to free, personalized career services, including web-based information resources and in-person and virtual career coaching.” Visit their site. Read their brochure.

One Stop Career Centers are located in all twenty-one counties in New Jersey. They provide: job search assistance, training and education assistance as well as on-site resource rooms (PCs, telephones, etc.).

OnRamp is an online service provided by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (LWD). You can create an account and receive the following:

  • Simple upload and use of an existing resume and online tools to easily build a new resume;
  • Resume enhancing tools that suggest ways to improve your resume;
  • The ability to search job opportunities collected from over 2,400 sources in one place;
  • Automatic email notices of new jobs matching your skills and experience;
  • Matches to jobs you have the skills for, but may not have considered applying to;
  • You control what information an employer can see and how you are contacted by employers who wish to interview you.

LWD provides a page with a listing of Job Fairs throughout the state.

Public libraries provide easy access to employment resources. For example, go visit the Newark Public Library’s job and career resources webpage. Reference librarians are more than happy to help. See the New Jersey Libraries page for your local public library.

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Lunchtime Activist

The other day I was reading posts on a MoveOn discussion list. One from Clarissa K. caught my eye. I thought it is worth sharing. She writes:

“We have created a platform much like Daily Action but it offers more than just phone calls. Lunchtime Activist. Small acts of resistance you can complete on your lunch break! Please share, follow on Twitter, Facebook and sign up for our email alerts!” https://www.facebook.com/lunchtimeactivist.”

An article on yesterday’s Lunchtime Activist began with this banner: “With Government Ditching Regulations, Support Companies That Invest in Clean Energy”. Everyone can contribute in their small way to resist the current administration in Washington. Checkout Lunchtime Activist.

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Online Safety Net Tools And Applications

Technology and the widespread use of the Internet have led to more and more safety net programs being placed online. This website has made a concerted effort over the years to make those applications easier to find. However, knowing where to go for government benefits or to a nonprofit’s office can be a hit or miss operation. This article hopes to highlight a number of public benefit websites, online applications and a few software programs known as pre-screening tools. Links to them can be found on this site’s community resource page or site map under the title of Public Benefits Corner.

Benefits.gov is the official benefits website of the U.S. government. Introduced in 2002, it offers online access to information provided by seventeen federal agencies. Users can browse information by category, state or federal agency. New Jersey residents can discover information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as food stamps), medicaid program, unemployment insurance, Head Start, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), WIC, Weatherization Assistance Program and more.

Social Security’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, according to their site, “helps you find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.” BEST is not an application for benefits. It will screen for the following benefits: Medicare, Social Security Disability, Social Security Retirement, Social Security Survivors, Special Veterans and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool can be used to determine if you may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Buttons on the site explain how to use the tool as well as a basic Internet tutorial. The site is maintained by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

This is the first in a series of articles on New Jersey websites with safety net applications and pre-screening tools. The Public Benefits Corner here has links to eighteen such sites.

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Energy Assistance Update

This is the time of year when many energy customers seek help with their utility bills. Here is some good news and information to point you in the right direction.

The deadline to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is extended from April 30 to May 31, 2017. The extension applies to heating assistance, cooling assistance and emergency assistance.

Atlantic City Electric has a new program to help financially strapped customers. Eligibility for the Helping Hands Program will be determined on an individual basis and household income should not exceed 400% of the Federal Poverty Limit. The program will be administered by the following four organizations:

The most popular New Jersey Community Resources page this past week has been
Avoiding Utility Shutoffs in New Jersey.

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Post-TANF Transportation Programs

Transportation assistance is available as a Post-TANF benefit for those leaving welfare due to employment. These programs are: “Get A Job, Get A Ride” and the “Extended Workpass”.

The completed “Get A Job, Get A Ride” application is mailed to New Jersey Transit who will issue a free one month two-zone monthly bus pass or rail pass. A person wishing to apply for the “Extended Workpass” must provide their county welfare agency with monthly pay stubs. This program provides free passes for a six month period. If eligible, the county welfare agency will issue the participant a two party check to be taken to the nearest NJ Transit ticket agent.

Please note that any individual whose case closed within the past 24 months, if now employed, may be eligible for up to six months of transportation if he or she can provide proof of current employment.

Contact a Work First New Jersey case manager for details. You can download the “Get A Job, Get A Ride” and “Extended Workpass” Enrollment Form here.

Additional information and links on welfare regulations and benefits are available online, including:

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