As the economy in New Jersey falters, the state is dealing with a spike in applications for food stamps and cash welfare payments. The Department of Human Services says food stamp applications doubled in a year. In October 2007, there were about 2,200 applicants. In 2008, there were more than 4,500.
Applications for grants through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families welfare program rose by 61 percent over the same period.
Welfare agencies say many of the new the applicants had been nestled in the middle class. Food stamps provide an average of $1 per meal per person. The cash grants top out at $322 monthly for a parent with two children.
Officials say that people in the past have been discouraged from applying by a cumbersome process.
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