(TRENTON) – The Department of Human Services on Thursday announced that up to $10 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund has been authorized to extend the availability and operation of the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund (ENJF) into the new year.
The ENJF would have expired at the end of 2021, the federal deadline to spend Coronavirus Relief Funding.
Human Services has also doubled the benefit amount available under the program, providing more financial assistance to eligible households excluded from both the federal stimulus checks and COVID-19 related unemployment assistance.
The new increased benefit amounts provide $2,000 per eligible individual and a maximum of $4,000 per household, up from $1,000 and $2,000, respectively.
New applicants and all who previously applied and were approved will receive the new, higher benefit amounts.
“We are dedicated to providing as much assistance as possible to New Jersey families in need, and are pleased we can provide a larger cash benefit to eligible families applying for the Fund,” Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “We hope more families will take advantage of this assistance now that there is more funding and more time to apply.”
“We are glad to be able to extend the application period through additional federal funds to provide greater assistance to families impacted by COVID who have been unable to receive other COVID financial relief,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “Individuals can apply for this direct cash benefit at ExcludedNJFund.nj.gov .”
The ENJF program will provide a one-time, direct cash benefit to eligible households that suffered a hardship due to COVID-19 and were excluded from federal stimulus checks and pandemic related unemployment assistance. This includes undocumented individuals, residents returning from the justice system and any other individuals otherwise excluded from pandemic-related financial help.
The federally funded, state administered program is open to households with annual incomes of up to $55,000 with a documented hardship due to COVID-19. Applicants must be over 18 and live in New Jersey to apply.
Interested individuals can check their eligibility, review what documents they can submit to demonstrate (ID/residency/income/COVID impact) eligibility and apply directly at ExcludedNJFund.nj.gov. The application is available in English and Spanish and online resources in multiple languages can be found on the website including an application tutorial video.
“We urge all potential applicants to review the information on the ENJF website, especially the list of documents required to demonstrate eligibility before applying,” Office of New American Director Johanna Calle said. “There are many ways to demonstrate eligibility and applicants are only required to provide one document per category. Those unable to provide a required document could still be eligible and should still apply for the Fund.”