It’s been 30 years since New Jersey last adjusted cash assistance to its poorest families for inflation, according to a fact sheet released 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.