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LAW Home > Legal Topics > Government Aid and Services > Food - Hunger/Nutrition > Food Stamps/SNAP

Nutrition Assistance Programs: SNAP and WIC


Food insecurity and malnutrition pose significant challenges for individuals and families nationwide. Nutrition assistance programs, such as the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) play an essential role in improving the health and well-being of families and their communities.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP is a federally-funded program that offers food assistance to low-income individuals and families. Participants of SNAP are given an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which functions like a credit or debit card and can be utilized to purchase a variety of food items at authorized locations. SNAP benefits are limited to only buying groceries and food.

SNAP Eligibility


Income eligibility for SNAP is primarily determined by a household’s size and gross income. A household is defined as the people who live with you and buy food with you, including children. For 2023-2024, households with gross incomes at or below 185% federal poverty level (FPL) are generally eligible for SNAP benefits. Households that include older individuals—aged 60 and older—and people with disabilities may have different income eligibility criteria.

Meeting the income thresholds for SNAP does not automatically make a household eligible for benefits. Additional factors and circumstances may impact an individual or family’s eligibility for the program. For example, a household’s immigration status and assets can influence eligibility and benefits amount.

You can screen your eligibility for SNAP and other assistance programs using the NJHelps Screening Tool. The screening results are not a final determination of eligibility; actual eligibility for SNAP benefits can only be confirmed through the official application process. To learn more about SNAP and access the screening tool, visit

Immigration Status

The SNAP eligibility criteria include a variety of immigration statuses, allowing many non-citizens to apply for food assistance. Many lawfully present non-citizens are eligible right away, such as refugees, asylees, trafficking victims, legal permanent resident (LPR) minor children, and other specific groups. Other non-citizens are eligible for SNAP benefits following a five-year waiting period or work requirement, such as most lawful permanent resident adults, most parolees, and others with a “long-term” status. Non-citizens without documented status and visitors, such as tourists, students, and those on a temporary visa, are not eligible for SNAP.

If your household includes people with different immigration statuses, the household can still apply for SNAP. The SNAP agency will consider eligibility based on the entire household’s circumstances and will approve assistance only for the members with an eligible immigration or citizen status. For example, undocumented parents may apply on behalf of their U.S. citizen children. Individuals not applying for benefits are not required to provide any information regarding their status.

Receiving SNAP benefits will never affect the immigration status or process of non-citizen family members. Benefits used by some family members will not count in another family member’s public charge determination.

SNAP Non-Citizen Eligibility

Immigration Statuses With No Waiting Period or
Added Conditions

Immigration Statuses
Requiring 5 Years Status or 40 Quarters of Work

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Children under 18

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who has earned, or can be credited with, 40 quarters of work

LPR with Military Connection

Paroled for at least one year under section 212(d)(5) of INA


Granted conditional entry under 203(a)(7) of INA in effect prior to April 1, 1980


Battered spouse, child, or parent with a petition pending

Person granting wittholding of removal


Cuban/Haitian Entrants

Trafficking Victims

Recent entrants from Afghanistan and Ukraine

Iraqi and Afghan special


Hmong or Highland Laotian tribal members

LPR in the U.S. who are receiving government payments for disability or blindness

Applying for SNAP

SNAP offers multiple ways to apply.

Online Application

SNAP provides an online option to complete and submit your application electronically. To apply online, you must use an active email to create an account on the NJHelps website. The online application portal allows you to save your progress, guides you through the different sections of the application, and allows you to upload verification documents. Once the application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation number.

In-Person Application

You can apply for SNAP in person at your county office. Applying in person can be helpful if you need an application in another language besides Spanish or English. The application is available in 17 different languages. Applying in-person can also be helpful if you need help with the application process. See County Boards of Social Services (from the NJ Division of Family Development) to find your local office, hours of operation, address, and contact information.

Mail-In Application

You can also complete a paper application and mail it to your local SNAP office. If you choose this option, you must download, print, and complete the paper application. The completed application must be mailed to the appropriate county Board of Social Services office. The application is available in a total of 17 different languages. If you mail a paper application, you should keep copies of all forms and documents sent to the SNAP office. Keeping copies of all documents can serve as proof of your application. See County Boards of Social Services (from the NJ Division of Family Development) to find your local office, hours of operation, address, and contact information.

NJ SNAP Navigators: Application Assistance

The NJ SNAP Navigators program assists applicants with the process. SNAP Navigators can answer questions about the program and verification documents. Applicants who want to complete a SNAP application by phone or are interested in additional in-person assistance with the application process can contact their local SNAP Navigators. See SNAP Navigators (from the NJ Department of Human Services) to find your local program.

The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

WIC offers substantial support for pregnant and postpartum people, infants, and young children up to the age of five by providing nutritious foods, nutrition education, healthcare referrals, and support services. WIC provides food vouchers for healthy items such as milk, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and infant formula worth about $60 per month. Participants of WIC are given an NJ eWIC card and can confirm WIC-approved foods using the WICShopper app or on the WIC Food and Program Guide page.

WIC households can also receive extra benefits, called Cash Value Benefits and Farmer’s Market Benefits, to purchase more fruits and vegetables.

WIC Eligibility

Eligibility for WIC is limited to specific categories of people who must also meet income guidelines. To be eligible for WIC, applicants must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Pregnant individuals
  • Individuals who have delivered a child within the last six months
  • Breastfeeding individuals who have delivered a child within the last year
  • Infants and children five years old or less

All applicants in the eligible categories must reside in the state of New Jersey and have a household gross income at or below the 185% federal poverty level (FPL).

New Jersey WIC Income Eligibility Guidelines

Household Size






















































For each additional family member, add






There is no citizenship or immigration status requirement for WIC. All eligible NJ residents who meet income guidelines can apply. It is important to note that WIC benefits will never affect the immigration status or process of non-citizen family members. Benefits used by some family members will not count in another family member's public charge determination.

Applying for WIC

To apply for WIC, you must contact or visit your local WIC office and schedule an appointment. See the NJ Department of Health's WIC website to find your local WIC office, hours of operation, and contact information. You will need to bring the following documents to your visit:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of pregnancy (if pregnant)
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of residency
  • Your health care referral form (if completed by your doctor or other health care provider)
  • Your child’s vaccination records

You can screen your eligibility for WIC by registering in the Participant Portal online. The screening results are not a final determination of eligibility; eligibility can only be confirmed through the official application process.

Eligible NJ SNAP and WIC applicants can simultaneously be enrolled and receive benefits from both programs. If you have any questions about your eligibility for SNAP or WIC benefits or have been denied benefits, Legal Services of New Jersey may be able to provide advice, assistance, or a referral to an agency that can help with your application. You can apply for legal help by submitting an online intake at or by calling the LSNJLAWSM Hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-800-576-5529).