A Look at Year One of the Murphy Administration at New Jersey Human Services
(TRENTON) – Governor Murphy’s first year was one of accomplishment, including at the Department of Human Services, including:
Expanding Access to Services
- Invested $38 million in helping working families afford child care;
- Expanded access to food assistance for community college students to combat food insecurity on college campuses;
- Increased New Jersey’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance amount for the first time in more than 30 years; and
- Launched the one-stop NJSave online application to help older residents and individuals with disabilities save money on Medicare premiums, prescription drug costs, and other living expenses.
- Increased access to life-saving hepatitis C benefits;
- Expanded access to tobacco cessation services and supports;
- Launched new diabetes prevention benefits;
- Built new autism benefits;
- Expanded family planning benefits, including for long-acting reversible contraception; and
- Improved treatment options for opioid use disorder.
Supporting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their Families
- Implemented the Stephen Komninos’ law, which strengthens protections for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and improves communication with parents and guardians;
- Launched the NJ ABLE program, which helps individuals with disabilities save tax-free for eligible expenses such as education, housing and transportation without losing Medicaid and other benefits; and
- Raised wages by $32 million for the direct support professionals who are essential to helping individuals with I/DD thrive in the community.
Engaging the Community
- Hosted a public listening session on the development of the State Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Human Services budget, where more 70 people and organizations provided testimony and input;
- Returned the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services to the Department of Human Services in response to stakeholder requests;
- Expanded the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP), offering library-based internet and technology tools for people who are blind and visually disabled;
- Expanded the New Jersey Hearing Project, which provides free refurbished hearing aids to eligible older residents;
- Hosted free community-based eye screenings across the state in partnership with legislators;
- Opened the Assistance Device Demonstration Center in Hamilton (Mercer County) to allow consumers, providers and the community to experience assistive devices for the deaf and hard of hearing; and
- Held forums in Mount Holly, Perth Amboy, Vineland, Jersey City, Paterson, Camden and Elizabeth to inform individuals from Puerto Rico displaced by Hurricane Maria about shelter, health care, food and cash assistance and other programs and assist with enrollment.
Fighting to Protect Services and Health Care Coverage
- Provided nearly $400,000 in funding to community organizations to help New Jerseyans understand their options and enroll in affordable health care coverage;
- Supported New Jersey’s legal effort to protect the Affordable Care Act by detailing for the courts the benefits of Medicaid expansion for New Jersey’s residents, hospitals, health care providers and our economy;
- Protected women’s health care by fighting in the courts against efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage; and
- Filed comments strongly opposing the Trump Administration’s efforts to expand the definition of “public charge” and harm legal immigrants access to services and supports.