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Christie Administration Announces New Data Match Initiative to Assist Low-Income Seniors
Multi-State Agency Collaboration Maximizes Benefits to Senior Citizens
Trenton, NJ
– Governor Chris Christie today announced the roll-out of a new data-match initiative that will offer senior citizens who qualify for prescription assistance a streamlined application for food and nutrition support. Seniors who are already enrolled in the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program who also may be eligible for the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Supplemental Nutrition Program (NJ SNAP), formerly called Food Stamps, will be identified to see if their income levels would allow them to qualify for SNAP.
 
 
The match was made possible through a multi-state agency collaboration of DHSS, DHS and the Office of Information Technology (OIT). Through the Oneapp system created by OIT, potentially eligible seniors will receive a letter from their county social services office advising them of NJ SNAP and arranging a phone or in-person interview to complete the application process, if they are interested.
 
“This type of collaborative partnership among state agencies demonstrates how government can work in the best interests of its citizens,” said Governor Christie. “Seniors often find themselves overwhelmed by burdensome paperwork. By streamlining the process associated with these two important programs, we are making it easier for seniors to get the services they’re entitled to receive while maximizing overall benefits.”

In addition, enrollment in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can also be accomplished via the system.

Initial reports indicate that only 6% of seniors with PAAD and Medicare Low Income Subsidy receive NJ SNAP despite the similar income eligibility requirements. Senior advocacy groups project about 133,600 additional PAAD recipients would apply if they better understood the programs and enrollment was made easier.
 
“We want to build upon the outreach efforts already underway to ensure that every food-insecure senior who is eligible for NJ SNAP gets enrolled by simplifying the process and encouraging participation,” said Jennifer Velez, DHS Commissioner. “We want to connect seniors to our benefit program in a way that works for them, so it makes sense to promote NJ SNAP through a trusted program like PAAD.”
 
NJ SNAP is administered by DHS’ Division of Family Development (DFD) through the counties. Eligibility screening and an online application is available through www.njhelps.org. DFD is securing the URL www.njsnap.org, which will be operational next week.
 
“Educating seniors to the availability of these programs and helping expedite further enrollment is paramount,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Commissioner of DHSS. “New Jersey is in a good position to target seniors enrolled in the PAAD program because we have the most generous program in the country and some couples and individuals are struggling to get by with limited, fixed incomes.”
 
Since late January, about 70,000 letters have been sent. Another 70,000 will be sent over the course of the next several weeks. All 21-county social services offices will be receiving names of seniors to contact for NJ SNAP applications until the matches are complete. Once all current PAAD recipients are contacted, DHSS will provide a check off for NJ SNAP on forms completed by new or renewing PAAD applicants.

 
 
 
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