New Procedures for Work First New Jersey Customers During COVID-19 Pandemic
Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Atlantic County Department of Family and Community Development will suspend all in-person interviews and face-to-face business with its customers who participate in Work First New Jersey programs, including General Assistance (GA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as Medicaid and Emergency Assistance (EA) programs.
What housing and rental assistance and mortgage relief is available for New Jerseyans?
What if I'm getting evicted or in foreclosure?
On March 19, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 106, which states that any lessee, tenant, homeowner or any other person shall not be removed from a residential property as the result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. Your landlord cannot remove you from your home during this emergency.
Additionally, several major national financial institutions - including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America - are committing to not initiate foreclosure sales or eviction proceedings for at least 60 days.
If you are facing eviction or potential foreclosure, contact a housing counselor immediately by visiting https://njhousing.gov/foreclosure.
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has expanded its Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program (FMAP) to include renter and pre-foreclosure counseling through a network of housing counselors in each county.
Counseling is free, available now, and can be provided remotely to help homeowners avoid potential foreclosure. At the same time, the counseling made available to renters will guide them on how to approach discussions with their landlords on dealing with their rent situation.
On March 28, 2020, Governor Murphy announced that financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance and financial protections for New Jerseyans facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. The initiative has secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and PNC Bank, in addition to over 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers, with more financial institutions expected to sign on in the coming days. Under the proposal, New Jerseyans who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:
90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments: Financial institutions will offer, consistent with applicable guidelines, mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days to borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19. In addition, those institutions will:
- Provide borrowers a streamlined process to request a forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
- Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
- Provide borrowers the opportunity to request additional relief, as practicable, upon continued showing of hardship due to COVID-19.
No Negative Credit Impacts Resulting from Relief: Financial institutions will not report derogatory tradelines (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.
Relief from Fees and Charges: For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund at least the following for customers who have requested assistance:
- Mortgage-related late fees; and
- Other fees, including early CD withdrawals (subject to applicable federal regulations).
Homeowners should contact lenders directly to take advantage of this relief. These lenders are experiencing high volumes of inquiries and may recommend using online services when available. Loans held by a financial institution may be serviced by another company.
For more information on COVID-19 related mortgage relief, please visit here: https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/covid/mortgagerelief.html
Additional Housing Assistance
Visit www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid to see if you are eligible for any of the state's housing assistance programs. These include temporary assistance to households who are being evicted due to a short- term loss of income and temporary financial assistance to help pay for housing and case management and services to maintain housing. There are also programs available to help veterans, low-income families, the elderly, single-parents, and more.
Source: https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200328c.shtml; https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200319c.shtml
Veterans Benefits Recipients Will Get Coronavirus Stimulus Payments
Veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments from VA will receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment with no further action needed on their part. Timing on the payments is still being determined.
The IRS has also done the same for individuals receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement benefits. Many people in these groups are expected to see the automatic $1,200 payments later this month, with SSI payments expected to start in early May.
The Treasury Department, not the VA, will make these automatic payments. Recipients will generally receive the automatic payments the way they receive their current benefits.
NOTE: Extra Step Needed for Benefits Recipients with Children
The IRS said that benefits recipients who have qualifying dependents will need to take an extra step to ensure they get the additional $500 payment per child.
The law provides eligible taxpayers with qualifying children under age 17 to receive an extra $500. For taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the child payments will be automatic.
However, many benefit recipients typically aren’t required to file tax returns. If they have children who qualify, an extra step is needed to add $500 per child onto their automatic payment of $1,200 if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.
For those who receive these benefits – including VA, Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits or SSI – and have a qualifying child, they can quickly register by visiting “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info” available on the irs.gov website. For those who can use this tool as soon as possible, they may be able to get earlier delivery of the child payments by having these added to their automatic payments.
NOTE: Do NOT use (“Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info”) tool if you will be filing a 2019 return. If you are required to file a return, using this tool will NOT speed up your Economic Impact Payment and will likely slow down processing of your tax return and receiving any refund.
Atlantic County Department of Family and Community Development is an umbrella organization dedicated to the well being of all citizens of the county. This department administers the Work First New Jersey welfare reform program and works closely with the courts to establish and enforce the financial obligations of non-custodial parents. In addition to its workforce development programs, this department strives to coordinate its efforts with those of state and city governments, as well as other social service organizations. It attempts to solve the problems of TANF, Food Stamp and Medicaid recipients, as well as problems with housing and emergency assistance.
Three levels of government support Atlantic County’s programs and services: Federal, State and County. Officially, Atlantic County operates a federally mandated, state supervised, county administered service system. Laws, regulations, policies are set at the federal, state and local levels.