Direct financial help can be a lifeline—learn more about what programs are available for you.
This section outlines what financial assistance programs are available to eligible New Jerseyans.
Income assistance programs
Income assistance programs can help eligible individuals with disabilities receive the money they need.
- The State public assistance program, WorkFirst NJ, provides monthly cash assistance (through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or General Assistance (GA) programs), short-term housing supports, child care, and employment and training services. Work requirements can be deferred for people who have a serious disability or are a caretaker of someone who with a severe disability or illness. To see if you are eligible for public assistance, visit the NJHelps eligibility aid or contact your county board of social services.
- Income assistance programs from the federal government are also available. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly payments to certain people who have limited income and few resources, and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays benefits to eligible workers who have a permanent disability and to their families. For information on how to apply for these programs, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, visit their website, or go to your local Social Security Administration field office.
Financial assistance programs
Financial assistance programs can ensure that unexpected financial challenges will not devastate New Jerseyans with disabilities or chronic illnesses.
- The Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund is a financial assistance program for New Jersey families whose children have an illness or condition that has led them to have expenses that remain uncovered by insurance, State or federal programs, or other sources such as fundraising. For more information about this program, call 1-800-335-3863 or visit its website.
- The Lifeline program and the Affordable Connectivity Program are federal programs that help make phone and internet service more affordable for eligible individuals. To learn more about these programs, visit the Department of Human Service's website.
- Certain savings accounts and trusts can help qualified individuals with disabilities save for expenses without losing eligibility for assistance programs such as SSI. For more information about NJ ABLE, Special Needs Trusts, and Qualified Income Trusts, visit the linked websites or call 1-888-609-8869 (NJ ABLE) or 1-609-588-3026 (Special Needs Trust and Qualified Income Trusts).
Housing and homelessness assistance
Housing and homelessness programs in New Jersey can entail anything from aiding with household utilities to protecting individuals who are at an immediate risk of homelessness.
- Emergency assistance (EA) is available to individuals enrolled in WorkForceNJ or receiving SSI who face an immediate risk of homeless. To request EA, contact your county board of social services. Other homelessness prevention information and aid can be found by calling the Homeless Hotline at 2-1-1 or contacting your local agency that administers the Homelessness Prevention Program.
- DCAID is a eligibility screening tool created by the Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Division of Housing and Community Resources to help New Jersey residents find any available housing-related assistance programs through DCA. This tool can be accessed on the DCA website.
- If you are looking for housing, the New Jersey Housing Resource Center (NJHRC) has an online tool that searches thousands of affordable, subsidized, and market-rate units throughout the State. To access the tool, visit the NJHRC website or call 1-800-428-8844.
- The Housing Choice Voucher program is a federally funded program that provides housing subsidies on behalf of low-income persons for safe and sanitary housing. To apply for the program, visit the DCA website.
- Finally, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) can help prospective homebuyers purchase a home by providing first-time homebuyer and down-payment assistance. To learn more about how NJHMFA can help, visit their website or call 1-800-654-6873.
Food assistance programs
New Jersey’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, NJ SNAP, provides food assistance to people to help them buy groceries through a benefits card accepted in most food stores and some farmers’ markets. People with a disability have relaxed eligibility requirements: find out if you are eligible by using the Department of Human Service's NJHelp tool. For more information about the program, call the hotline at 1-800-687-9512 or visit their website.
Public health insurance (Medicaid)
Public health coverage for people with disabilities is provided by NJ FamilyCare, the State's Medicaid program. For more information about this program, visit the Health & Wellness section of the Disability Resources page or the NJ FamilyCare website on Aged, Blind, and Disabled Programs.
Employment assistance programs
Employment assistance can help people with disabilities find a job or develop the skills they need to become employed.
- New Jersey's One-Stop Career Centers are staffed by qualified employment counselors that assist jobseekers search for employment, undergo training or education, seek specialized services, and much more. Services are free of charge and can be found at the career center located nearest you.
- Any individual with a physical, mental, cognitive, or other form of disability that has a substantial impediment to employment may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, where counselors work with individuals and their families to develop and carry out a plan for training and placement. For more information, visit the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services' (DVRS) website or call 1-609-292-5987 (1-609-498-6221 for video call services).
- Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can receive direct vocational counseling from the division's Deaf Language Specialists, who are able to communicate with consumers whose primary language is American Sign Language or those with hearing loss who cannot sign. For more information about these specialists, also known as rehabilitation counselors for the deaf, visit the DVRS website.
- Individuals with disabilities can also benefit from federal programs to help find employment. Social Security's Ticket to Work program, available to people who are blind or have a disability age 18 to 64 and who are enrolled in SSI and SSDI, offers services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized service providers. Information can be found by calling 1-866-968-7842 or visiting the program's website.
- A Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) is an SSI provision that allows a individual with a disability set aside money and things needed to achieve a specific work goal, such as business supplies or transportation, without jeopardizing SSI eligibility. To learn more about PASS, contact a specialist at 1-866-348-5403 (x23648 for last names A-M, x23645 for N-Z) or visit the program website.
- The NJ WorkAbility Program offers full New Jersey Medicaid health coverage to people with disabilities who are working and whose earnings would otherwise make them ineligible for Medicaid. For more information, call DDS at 1-888-285-3036 or visit the program website.
Additional employment resources
- ResumeBuilder has compiled a resume and employment guide for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. This resource shares job-related resources, information about legal rights about accommodations and discrimination, and a wealth of other information for people seeking employment.
Equipment Distribution Program
The Equipment Distribution Program offers free home safety and wireless communication devices for eligible low-income residents. To learn more about this program, visit the DDHH website. Additional programs that can help you pay for assistive technology can be found in the Assistive Technology section of the Disability and Chronic Illness resource page.