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Atlantic County, New Jersey
Financial Assistance
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Atlantic County, New Jersey
Atlantic County Government Web Site
Financial Assistance

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Atlantic County Government
1333 Atlantic Avenue Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Board and Care Unit
Child Support and Paternity
Emergency Assistance
NJ SNAP (Food Stamps)
Fraud Unit
General Assistance
New Jersey Family Care
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
All Programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Family and Community Development Home Page


The following list of questions is the most frequently asked by individuals and families inquiring about our services. Please click the subject below and it will link you to the answer.

Child Support Enforcement
Food Stamps
Emergency Assistance

Q. What is Child Support Enforcement?

A. Child support enforcement staff helps locate non-custodial parents and assist in establishing paternity and getting child support payments ordered by the courts. Once court orders have been established, child support payments are receipted at the Centralized Collection Operation. To enforce a court order, child support staff can initiate legal action against the nonpaying parent, withhold support payments from the nonpaying parents' wages and intercept their tax refunds.

Paternity establishment for children born outside of marriage
Establishing a legal father for a child ensures certain rights for the child, such as a greater sense of identity, access to paternal medical information, social security, death and insurance benefits and military benefits.

A child support order cannot be established for a child who is born to unmarried parents unless the alleged father acknowledges paternity or is proven to be the father. Paternity may be established by voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or by court order.

The most convenient time for parents to establish paternity for their child is in the hospital when the child is born. The father must be present and provide identification to have his name placed on the Affidavit of Parentage. When this document is filed with Vital Records, both parents' names are recorded on the birth

Genetic testing (DNA) is recommended if there are doubts regarding the paternity of the child. This test is highly accurate in determining the probability that a man is the father of a child. Blood or tissue samples may be used for testing. A popular method uses tissue swabbed from the inside of the cheek. Test results may provide peace of mind to parents establishing paternity voluntarily, or may be presented as evidence in legal proceedings to establish paternity.

If paternity is not established voluntarily, legal action may be filed with the courts. A formal complaint is served upon the alleged father, initiating court action. A court hearing is held and the court enters an order establishing paternity.

Location of non-custodial parents
The noncustodial parent(s) must be located before any actions to establish paternity, establish support or enforce a child support order can take place. The primary source of information that Child Support staff uses to locate a noncustodial parent is the information given by the customer.

Information such as name, date of birth, social security number, address, employer and vehicle ownership information can assist child support staff in locating a noncustodial parent. With this type of information the Child Support Unit can access location information from both state and national computer databases to assist in
location efforts.

Visit the following link for more information about the Federal Child Support Enforcement Program:Federal Child Support Enforcement Program.

How to get help?

If you want or need help with a child support problem, simply contact your local the
Atlantic County Department of Family and Community Development, Child Support

Q. What is the Food Stamp Program?

A. The Food Stamp Program is a federal program that provides a monthly allotment
of Food Stamp benefits issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (ATM cards).
The Food Stamp Program is an entitlement program. Food Stamp benefits may be
used to purchase most foods at participating stores. They may not be used to
purchase tobacco, pet food, paper products, soap products, or alcoholic beverages.
Eligible households must be given the opportunity to receive Food Stamp benefits
no later than thirty days from the date of application. Individuals with specific
circumstances must be given an opportunity to receive Food Stamp benefits no later
than seven days from the date of application. Food stamps help single people and
families with little or no income to buy food.

Q. Are food stamps cash?

A. No. Food stamps are benefits that you can use only for the purchase of food.
Food stamp benefits come on a plastic card that you use like a bankcard. Many food
stores accept food stamps.

Q. Can I get food stamps just for myself if I live with my family or others?

A. People who live together and buy food and prepare meals together are grouped
as a "household." Husbands and wives and most children under the age of 22 must
be one household.

Q. Will I have to get a Social Security number?

A. Yes, you must have or will have to get a Social Security number for each
household member.

Q. Can legal non-citizens get food stamps?

A. You might be able to get food stamps. Talk with a food stamp worker about this.
Even if you can't get food stamps, family members born in this country can. Getting
food stamps will not hurt you if you want to become a citizen.

Q. Can I get help if I'm not working?

A. Yes. However, in most cases, once enrolled in the Food Stamp Program and you
are able to work, you must look for work, go to training, or attend an activity.

Q. How many assets can we have?

A. Households with a member aged 60 or older may have up to $3,000 in countable
assets. Other households may have up to $2,000 The Food Stamp Program does not
count the house you are living in and up to $9,500 of the fair market value of one

Q. What are the allowable deductions?

A. Allowable deductions are:
- 20% of earned income
- A standard deduction of $314
- Medical expenses over $35 a month for elderly or disabled members
- Certain dependent childcare costs: no more than $200 for each child under the
age of two and $175 for each other dependant
- Legally owed child support
- A percentage of shelter costs

Q. How do I get food stamps?

A. You must apply for food stamps. Office locations and phone numbers are listed
below. When you apply, you should bring with you: identification, Social Security
numbers for all household members, proof of all income, documentation of
resources, alien status, proof of shelter costs, disability documentation, proof of
medical expenses for elderly and disable household members, and the name,
address and telephone numbers of your childcare provider(s).
To learn more about the Food Stamp Program, please visit the United States
Department of Agriculture's web site.

Although you can apply for food stamps at the Atlantic County Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) offices, the Food Stamp Program is separate from cash assistance. Applying for food stamps does not count toward the five-year lifetime limit on welfare benefits .

Q. Is Emergency Assistance available to families?

A. Families who are experiencing a financial emergency may be eligible for financial help to pay for housing and utilities. Families that meet the following criteria may be eligible for Emergency Assistance:
- The family must have a child under age 21 who lives with a relative as defined for Work First.
- Total income must be at or below 200% of poverty level.
- Family members must meet the same citizenship requirements as for WFNJ Cash Assistance