New Jersey Department of Humans Services implements changes to boost SNAP aid to disabled and elderly.

The department just announced that New Jersey residents who receive social security, food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Lifeline Utility Assistance through the New Jersey Division of Aging Services may be eligible for additional benefits.

The Lifeline Utility Assistance program provides a $225 annual benefit to eligible individuals to help meet heating and cooling needs. Based on the department’s ability to match SNAP recipients and Lifeline Utility Assistance beneficiaries, as of April 1, the department was able to credit a higher utility deduction to more than 27,000 SNAP households, which resulted in an average monthly increase of $98 in SNAP benefits.

“This important change will increase the food budgets of tens of thousands of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents,’’ said Adele LaTourette, director of Hunger Free New Jersey. “We commend the New Jersey Department of Human Services for taking this critical step that will help reduce hunger in households across the Garden State.’’

The department also instituted changes to make it easier for people who find themselves suddenly homeless to receive emergency assistance and other aid to help them find permanent homes more quickly.

Read DHS’s news release.