It’s been 30 years since New Jersey last adjusted cash assistance to its poorest families for inflation, according to areleased by the New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). The state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is currently $424 a month for a family of three, unchanged since 1987. To throw that number into sharp relief, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services indicates that a family of three needs $2,920 —almost 700 percent higher than the maximum TANF benefit. If the state had simply kept up with inflation, the benefit would be $932 a month.
New Jersey’s TANF assistance is the seventh-lowest of all states and the District of Columbia, below Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona.