Utilities Assistance

Life Line Services

Lifeline - Link up Services

Verizon's Communications Lifeline/Link Up America program makes telephone service more affordable for qualified applicants. The Communications Lifeline provides qualified low-income individuals with a credit towards their monthly telephone bill.

The Link Up America component of the program provides eligible individuals with a discount on telephone connection charges with the remaining amount billed in 12 monthly payments.

Safe Link Wireless

Safe Link Wireless is a program provided by TracFone Wireless, Inc. serving eligible households. To participate in the Safe Link Wireless service, certain eligibility requirements must be met, which are set by each State where the service is provided. These requirements are based on a person's participation in state and/or federal support programs, or by meeting the Income Poverty Guidelines as defined by the U.S. Government. Safe Link Wireless service is limited to one person per household.

Assurance Wireless

Recognizing the important benefits associated with phone access and concerned that low-income households may not be able to afford phone service on their own, the federal government created the Lifeline Assistance program in 1985. Consumers who qualify based on federal or state-specific eligibility criteria can obtain discounted or free phone service through the Lifeline Assistance program. Assurance Wireless provides eligible consumers with:

  • Free monthly data
  • Free monthly minutes
  • A free smartphone
  • Unlimited texting

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

This system replaced the issuance of checks and food coupons to eligible Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/General Assistance (GA)/NJ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) clients and made their cash and food benefits available to them through an electronic benefit account. To access their cash and food benefits, TANF/GA/NJ SNAP clients utilize their Families First cards.

Your card can be used at the grocery store and online at:

Recipients seeking to order from Walmart or Shoprite should check with their local stores about online SNAP availability visiting the SNAP Retailer Locator page. Your card would be used like a debit card, to spend your NJ SNAP benefits. You will need to enter a secret Personal Identification Number (PIN), which should never be shared with anyone.

For More Information

For more information on EBT, check out the NJ Families First EBT Brochure (PDF).

Utility Assistance (Home Energy Assistance)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. We provide federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with:

  • Home energy bills
  • Energy crises
  • Weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs

LIHEAP can help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices. Applicants for Food Stamps automatically apply for LIHEAP when applying for these programs. No other application is necessary.

Other Gloucester County residents who feel they may qualify for LIHEAP may contact the following locations under Gloucester County by visiting the Gateway Community Action Partnership Contacts and Locations page.

Emergency Assistance (EA)

Work First New Jersey/TANF/GA and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients may be eligible to receive Emergency Assistance (EA) benefits to alleviate or prevent homelessness. This assistance may include:

  • Back rent
  • First month's rent
  • Food
  • Household furnishings
  • Security deposit
  • Temporary shelter
  • Utility assistance
  • And/or a rent subsidy

Receipt of these benefits is time-limited and contingent upon other eligibility factors, such as housing affordability.

Other Programs Benefit Recipients

If you are currently receiving either TANF, SSI or GA you may be eligible for our Emergency Assistance Program that can assist you with some related housing costs in an effort to avoid homelessness. We can assist with temporary emergency shelter, food, utility assistance and in some cases clothing and household furnishings for homeless persons who are eligible for TANF, GA and/or SSI under certain circumstances.

Temporary emergency shelter, as well as assistance with rent, security deposits or utilities, can also be provided for certain homeless persons who are not recipients of the above programs. The type and amount of assistance given depends on the availability of funds and the ability to provide a more long-term solution to the problems of homelessness.

Social Worker

In all circumstances, a social worker is available to function as an advocate for the individual or family in working with landlords, shelter operators and utility companies in order to obtain services that are needed.

To contact a social worker regarding Emergency Assistance call 856-256-2113 before 4:30 pm.

For More Information

For more information visit the NJ Division of Family Development Emergency Assistance page.


This program is designed to promote the general welfare and safeguard the health and wellbeing of low-income individuals by raising their level of nutrition. When making food purchases, eligible individuals use their Families First card to pay for food purchases with funds available in their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) account.

Able-bodied NJ SNAP recipients may be required to register for work and participate in meaningful work-related activities through the NJ SNAP Employment and Training Program.

Food Pantries

Food Assistance is also available through Food Pantries provided by various community organizations. Food pantries are independent entities not affiliated with GCDSS, but who work with GCDSS to assist the public in need of food assistance. To view a list of available food pantries, visit our Resource Directory.

For More Information

Further information is available at the website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. Visit the NJ Helps website to see if you qualify.

WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ)

General Assistance

This is a program designed to provide time-limited cash assistance and services that help improve the well-being of single adults or couples without children while they work at obtaining self-sufficiency through employment and/or other sources. The WFNJ/GA program incorporates a five-year limit on cash assistance.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

This is a program designed to provide time-limited cash assistance to needy families with children. The program requires most recipients to participate in work-related activities while providing child-care assistance and other support services designed to promote economic self-sufficiency. The WFNJ/TANF program incorporates a five-year limit on cash assistance.

For More Information

For more information on WFNJ programs, visit the WorkFirst NJ page.

Voter Registration

The National Voter Registration Act was implemented in New Jersey. Accordingly, staff offers all applicants/clients the opportunity to register to vote at each application, address change, recertification, or redetermination interview.

Voter Registration Documents