New Jersey's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, NJ SNAP, provides food assistance to low-income families to help them buy groceries. SNAP is a federal program, but it is administered at the state level by the Department of Human Services in New Jersey. NJ SNAP benefits are paid out according to the same monthly schedule based on the seventh digit of your case number, including December 2022.
Learn: How You Can Still Claim Child Tax Credit if You Missed Nov. 17 Deadline
See: How Food Stamps and TANF Differ - And Can You Qualify for Both?
NJ SNAP benefits are paid out on a Families First Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works just like a debit card. The Families First EBT card can be used in most grocery stores and some participating farmers' markets. Your benefits can also be used online, but make sure to check with your local store about online availability.
To find out where you can use your NJ SNAP benefits, check the U.S. Department of Agriculture's SNAP Retailer Locator. Click "Enter the SNAP Retailer Locator" and enter your address. For a list of markets that accept NJ SNAP benefits, visit here.
According to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, your NJ SNAP benefits can be used to purchase:
Fruits and vegetables
Beans, fish, poultry, meat
Rice, bread, tortillas, cereal
Milk and cheese
Seeds and plants that produce food
However, there are restrictions on what you can purchase. NJ SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, non-food items, vitamins or medicine. Also, while allowed in states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, the purchase of hot and prepared food or meals is prohibited with SNAP benefits in New Jersey.
How To Score EBT Discounts
SNAP benefits also come with other perks. Here are a few additional bargains you can get with your New Jersey Families First EBT card:
Amazon Prime discount: Recipients of NJ SNAP and SNAP EBT Cash benefits (or Medicaid benefits) can qualify to save 50% off their Prime membership. To see if you qualify, visit amazon.com/prime/qualify.
Museum discounts: Those receiving NJ SNAP benefits can get free or reduced admission to hundreds of museums and arts groups throughout the U.S., including through the Museums for All program. However, Food Stamps Now stated that no museum in New Jersey is currently participating in the program, so your EBT card can only be used in other states for a discount.
Farmers' markets: You can also use your Families First EBT card at participating farmers' markets to purchase fresh produce. The USDA's Food Nutrition Service (FNS) provides a monthly list of the names and locations of markets across the country that are currently authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
Internet and phone: Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), eligible NJ SNAP recipients could receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet service and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. SNAP households may also qualify for free or low-cost landline or cell phone service through the Federal Lifeline Program. Consult with your service provider for more information.
School meals: Those receiving NJ SNAP benefits may also have children that qualify for free or reduced-price breakfast, lunch and snacks at school.
Home energy assistance: NJ SNAP recipients could qualify for energy assistance through Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) and the Universal Service Fund (USF) programs. New Jersey also has a SNAP Utility Program to help offset the cost of energy. You don't have to apply for SNAP-UP; if eligible, you will automatically receive a $21 payment on your Families First card.
You can apply for NJ SNAP either through your County Welfare Agency or online. Click here to check your eligibility, apply online or download an application to apply in person.
Child Tax Credit: New Jersey Governor Clarifies $500 Payments Will Be Available in 2023
State Stimulus Checks 2023: What To Know About Payments Coming Next Year
NJ SNAP benefits are sent out over the first five calendar days of the month, based on the seventh digit of your case number. However, there is one exception. In Warren County, all benefits are sent out on the first of the month. Here is the deposit schedule for December 2022:
All SNAP recipients, including those receiving NJ SNAP benefits, will get a financial boost thanks to a major cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for fiscal year 2023. The COLA kicked in starting Oct. 1, 2022, and will hike the maximum monthly benefit by 12.5%.
10 Jaw-Dropping Stats About the State of Retirement in America
GOBankingRates' Best Credit Cards for 2023
3 Easy Tips to Turn Your Credit Woes into Wows
7 Ways To Know You're Ready To Start Investing
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Food Stamps Schedule: When To Expect New Jersey (NJ SNAP) Payments in December and How To Get EBT Discounts