Assistance Programs

NJ 2-1-1: Where to Call For Non-Emergency Help

While resources that are offered through 2-1-1 vary from community to community, 2-1-1 Call Specialists will provide comprehensive information and referral services to callers about a variety of issues, including:

  • Basic Human Needs Resource: food banks, clothing closets, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance.
     
  • Support for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services.
     
  • Support for Children, Youth and Families: childcare, after school programs, Kids Care (health insurance programs), family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services.
     
  • Physical and Mental Health Resources: health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health, Children’s Health Insurance Program, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
     
  • Employment Supports: financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, and education programs.

NJ Lifeline Program

The Lifeline program offers assistance in paying utility bills to persons who meet the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) eligibility requirements or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This includes utility customers as well as tenants whose utility bills are included in their rent. For additional information, please call 1-800-792-9745.

NJ Statewide Heating Assistance Referral Energy Service (NJSHARES)

New Jersey SHARES is the only statewide, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which provides grants to pay the utility bills of households in need through a statewide network of more than 148 community-based social service agencies. For information on applying for assistance please call 1-866-NJSHARES.

NJ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps very low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills, and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program.  For information on applying or to see if you qualify, please call 1-800-510-3102.

NJ Universal Service Fund (USF)

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities created the Universal Service Fund (USF) to help low-and fixed-income residents pay for electric and natural gas service. All electric and natural gas customers contribute funding for USF through their utility rates.  The goal of the USF program is to ensure that eligible New Jersey utility customers only have to pay an affordable portion of their household income for energy costs. For additional information, please call 1-866-240-1347.

Comfort Partners

This Program is designed to improve energy affordability for income eligible households through direct installation of free energy efficiency measures and education about steps everyone can take to save energy. Participants are asked to partner with the program to develop and carry out a household energy savings Action Plan.  For more information please call 1-888-773-8326.

Telephone Assistance

Telephone assistance programs provide a discount on your monthly bill and/or provide a reduction in installation (hook-up) fees. Eligibility is determined based on your income or participation in other assistance programs. In general, if you participate in any of the following programs you also may qualify for telephone assistance: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families/Work First New Jersey (TANF), General Assistance, Lifeline Utility Credit/Tenants Lifeline Assistance, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), Food Stamp Program, Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP/HEAP), Medicaid. You must contact your local telephone company if you wish to participate in any of the telephone assistance programs.

Telephone assistance is available to you if you are a qualified residential telephone customer. The federal government sponsors two programs, namely Lifeline and Link-Up.

Lifeline provides you with a discount to your monthly bill that could be as much as $13.26 depending on your local telephone company.

Link-Up provides a 50 percent reduction in the initial telephone connection charges (up to $30.00).

In order to be eligible for any of these assistance programs, you must either participate in one of the qualifying programs specified by each plan or your income must meet certain criteria. When you are seeking telephone assistance, please keep in mind that each telephone company and/or each program has different eligibility requirements, different benefits available and different restrictions. Some programs have restrictions on the optional services available to participants.

Please contact your local telephone company to participate in any of these programs.