TRENTON — The state is boosting welfare payments for the second time in as many years, with the Murphy administration saying it will help make a "fairer New Jersey."

WorkFirst NJ cash assistance payments will increase by 20% for people on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and General Assistance.

A family of three will see benefits rise from $466 to $559 a month, while an individual will get an increase from $154 to $185 per month.

The boost follows a 10% increase last year, which officials said was the first major increase in these benefits in three decades.

“WorkFirst New Jersey is really about creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for individuals and families, and giving them the supports they need so they can get on that pathway," Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said Wednesday.

WorkFirst NJ provides support services such as emergency housing assistance; temporary utility, rental or mortgage assistance; job training; mental health and addictions support; and counseling.

Residents can apply for WorkFirst NJ benefits at their county Board of Social Services or online at

Johnson said WorkFirst NJ requires adults to register with their local unemployment office and go through job training and “get prepared to work."

“Individuals have to participate in work or in training programs or be in school," she said. "They have to be moving forward with the progression of their careers here.”

The Commissioner said most people enrolled in WorkFirst NJ want to work but grapple with challenges.

“Sometimes that’s about childcare, so we support childcare services for individuals and families in these circumstances. Sometimes it’s about transportation," she said.

“People who are struggling with the lowest incomes are the ones who, at the end of the day, we all need to see succeed because our economy depends on it.”

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