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Social Services

Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), funded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), helps low-income households pay for broadband service and internet-connected devices. Up to $30 per month may be applied to an individual’s local internet service provider. In addition, a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

FEMA Assistance

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. They are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus. FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

FEMA’s Region 2 specialists, in the hardest-hit communities of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, are working closely with stakeholder groups, enlisting their help with outreach to affected families and communities.

See these flyers in English and Spanish for information regarding financial assistance for funeral expenses. Applicants can register for assistance by calling (844) 684-6333.

FEMA is giving a presentation next week for organizations and community partners that would like an overview of our Funeral Assistance program. The presentation is on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022 from 11am until 12pm and can be accessed via this link with passcode 220797. All interested should please reach out to fema-r2-ia@fema.dhs.gov and a calendar invite will be sent.

Pandemic Doubles the Need for Help – PSE&G Offers Support & Flexibility

COVID-19 has inflicted financial hardship on many of PSE&G’s customers and left them struggling to pay bills. Today, twice as many customers are seriously behind on their bills than before the pandemic. New Jersey’s grace period on utility disconnections ended on December 31, 2021. Customers at risk of utility service disconnection should enroll in a Deferred Payment Arrangement (DPA) and apply for payment assistance to avoid an interruption of their utility service.  

Many more customers are now eligible for energy assistance programs that have been expanded with increased income limits.  PSE&G is offering more flexible payment options and new deferred payment arrangements (DPAs). 

  • Enroll in a PSE&G Deferred Payment Arrangement (DPA): Click here or call 800-357-2262. When asked, “What would you like help with today?” say, “Payment arrangement.”
  • Apply for State energy assistance: Click here or dial 2-1-1.
    • Click here to watch an explainer video about all the available State programs in English.
    • Click here to watch an explainer video about all the available State programs in Spanish.
  • Need help, but not sure where to start?  Click here or call PSE&G Customer Care at 800 357 2262.

Application Period Now Open for Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced that the application period for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is now open. The program will provide financial assistance to low-income households to reduce the balances they have on their residential water and wastewater bills. The LIHWAP program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will provide benefits directly to water and wastewater companies, on behalf of residential customers. The assistance can be used, in order of priority, to:

  • restore services where services have been terminated and pay reconnection fees and other charges accrued due to a disconnection; 
  • avoid service disruption for those residential customers who are in danger of disconnection (i.e., received shut off notices or have past due balances) and to help them afford bill payment going forward; and
  • support those household customers who are current in their bills but might be in danger of falling behind in the near future.

Free Tax Preparation Program

The City of Linden Department of Social Services announces that United Way has a Free Tax Preparation Program.

  • Click here to access the tax preparation web page from United Way.
  • The United Way online portal will open on February 1st for people to upload their documents.
  • The return will be prepared by their volunteers and sent back to the client via encrypted email and then reviewed over Zoom before filing. Call United Way at 973-993-1160 x521 with questions and/or to schedule appointments. United Way also offers free self-preparation software for those who want to file their own taxes.
  • Click here to view and/or download the flyer for this program in both English and Spanish.

Utility Assistance Information from Elizabethtown Gas

As winter approaches and households start to receive higher heating bills, know that programs exist to help with utility costs.  There have been updates to assistance programs and income guidelines. Some changes include a higher monthly maximum benefit amount of $180 and changes to the USF Fresh Start program, which may forgive your current outstanding balance.

On October 1, 2021, Utility Assistance programs were expanded for a two-year period to better assist those impacted by the continuing pandemic. Income guidelines for assistance programs have been increased to allow more households to be eligible. For example, a family of 4 can make up to $106,000 and be eligible to receive assistance. In some cases, entire past due balances may be erased. Information on all available programs can be found here.

This Energy Assistance Fact Sheet provides contact information for agencies that can provide more detailed information and program applications. Additionally, all programs have an online application, where applicants may apply for assistance without leaving their home. Additionally, representatives from Elizabethtown Gas are available to speak about conservation measures and energy assistance by request. 

Murphy-Oliver Administration Announces New Program for Struggling Homeowners

Over $325 million of federal funding to provide financial assistance and counseling for homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19 

Governor Philip D. Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver today announced the upcoming launch of the Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA), administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). This program will provide up to $35,000 in assistance to cover mortgage arrearages, delinquent property taxes, and other housing cost delinquencies for eligible homeowners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance offers struggling families a lifeline, and can make other loss mitigation options, such as refinancing, viable.  

If you are unsure if you’re eligible, you should call 855 647 7700 to be put in touch with a housing counselor who can help guide you through the process and understand your options. To qualify for the ERMA program, homeowners must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a New Jersey homeowner with a demonstrated COVID-19-related financial hardship occurring after January 20, 2020; 
  • Own and occupy an eligible primary residence;
  • Have an income below 150% of their Area Median Income (AMI).
  • Click here to apply. The application portal will open for applications on February 8th, 2022 at 9am.
  • Click here to review program eligibility and sign up for program updates.
  • Click here to view the full press release.

Utility Assistance Programs

Utility companies will resume shut off of service for nonpayment after December 31, 2021. Don’t delay, apply for energy assistance today!

If you’re having trouble affording your utility bills, there is good news! Due to the economic situation caused by the pandemic, New Jersey temporarily expanded its low-income energy assistance programs and its energy debt forgiveness program to middle class households (see new income limits by clicking here). Also, the USF-Fresh Start program offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to have electric and gas balances forgiven. Click here to learn what kind of benefit each program below provides and how to apply. Click here for brochures in English and Spanish.