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3/31/15

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Agency spotlight


L. Kathy McCarey, ECDCA Principle Tenant Interviewer/Investigator

Essex County Division of Community Action

NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 240 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community.  This month we want to spotlight the Essex County Division of Community Action.

The Department of Citizen Services, Division of Community Action (DCA) is the first step in providing help, support and opportunity.  They deal with problems ranging from homelessness, shelter, food referrals, consumer services rental assistance, relocation dollars, utility assistance, tenant and landlord issues and consumer fraud. 

“We are so fortunate to be working with NJ SHARES.  For the past eleven years we have been able to provide invaluable and much needed services to the community”, said L. Kathy McCarey, Principle Tenant Interviewer/Investigator.  


president's message


Jim Jacob, NJS's President and CEO

While the thermometer may have indicated otherwise in recent weeks, Spring has finally arrived to the Garden State. And after such a long, cold winter, we surely welcome its arrival!

It’s been a very busy few weeks for us at NJ SHARES. We are proud to have put the finishing touches on our 2014 Annual Report, and are excited to share it with you (see article for more details).

On Wednesday, March 25, I joined our Board Chair Alita Corbett of Atlantic City Electric along with Cheryl Stowell, Linda Ellis and Kim Warrick from NJ SHARES in Washington, DC for LIHEAP Action Day. Sponsored by the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), this annual event brings together key officials and energy assistance organization from throughout the nation for a day of advocacy and support for the federal energy assistance program.

Over the past several years, funding for LIHEAP has fallen to $3.4 billion, while the need for energy assistance for our most vulnerable populations has increased. These funding cuts have resulted in smaller assistance grants and fewer households served, which drastically limits the program’s overall effectiveness. This year, approximately 185 people spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with Congressional delegates and urging them to restore funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to $4.7 billion for Fiscal Year 2016.

I was very pleased to be able to attend this important event of behalf of NJ SHARES and all those we serve. In New Jersey, we are fortunate that our legislators understand and support the LIHEAP program. It is vitally important that our elected officials continue to work on our behalf and provide needed support for energy programs that offer financial relief and utility services to those facing financial crisis.

Please note that the LIHEAP program will close for the season on April 30. Until the program begins again in October, there are options available for income-eligible households in need of assistance with their utility bills. The Universal Service Fund (USF) is available year-round to assist households with their energy affordability needs. USF helps lower gas and electricity costs for eligible households and was designed so that eligible residents do not have to pay more than 6 percent of their annual income for gas and electric service.

As we embark on another Spring season, remember that NJ SHARES is here to Offer Hope and Deliver Help to those households in need.  We are a much needed safety net for those who do not qualify for USF and who are unable to meet their energy burden due to circumstances beyond their control – providing grants, funded by donor support and a statewide network of more than 270 community-based social service agencies, to households in need and connecting low and moderate income households with the necessary available resources.

For more information on any of our energy assistance programs, visit our website www.njshares.org or call our toll-free hotline – 1-866-NJSHARES (657-4273).

Regards,

Jim Jacob


A MESSAGE FROM YOUR LEGISLATOR


Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson

A Message from Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D) of the 37th Legislative District

First, I would like to congratulate NJ SHARES on the wonderful work they do year round to help out New Jersey residents. I know my office, with the help of NJ SHARES, is able to help constituents that contact us and need help with their utility bills. Water and electricity are not luxuries, they are basic necessities that everyone needs to have access to.

During March and April, the Assembly Budget Committee will be reviewing the state budget for the next fiscal year. I had the privilege to participate in three public hearings and hear directly from state residents about what their budget priorities are. I was moved by many of their emotional stories about how state funding enabled them to receive drug treatment and break the cycle of addiction and put them on a path to long term recovery.

These meetings are important to see the people behind the budget. While fiscal analysts speak about percents, appropriations, and bond coupons, legislators need to represent the people in their district. This is why I am happy to support funding to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are protected and are able to access the services they need to live a healthy and productive life. When you see how the dollars are able to help someone out of poverty to get the training they need to find a job, you know that the money is being well spent.

I urge you to communicate with your legislator and share your budget priorities with them. As elected officials, we are accountable to the voters and want to hear from you. We want to focus our efforts on budget and policy areas that you think are important. The legislative website (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/) has easy to use tools to find your legislator and send them an email, phone call, or letter.

Gordon M. Johnson

Assemblyman, District 37


What's New


NJ SHARES 2014 Annual Report

NJ Shares 2014 Annual Report Now Available Online!

We are excited to announce that our 2014 Annual Report is now available online!

The 2014 report includes financial statement, statistics and program impact data, and features a joint letter from NJ SHARES President Jim Jacob and Board Chair Alita Corbett of Atlantic City Electric.

To view the web version of the report, kindly visit: http://njshares.org/aboutNJShares/annual-report.asp

Print versions of our report will be available soon – if you are interested in receiving a print version of the report, kindly contact Barbara Gomes at bgomes@njshares.org.

Since 1998, NJ SHARES has been able to assist more than 175,000 New Jersey neighbors in need – and this would not have been possible without those profiled in our report and the ongoing support of friends like you. We thank all of those who have helped support us over the course of the past year in our efforts to help New jersey households in need, and hope you will continue to support our efforts in the future. To make a contribution, kindly visit: http://njshares.org/howYouCanHelp/index.asp


Events


Dena Shipley, Vincent Maione, Alita Corbett and Peter Eschbach

2015 Economic and Energy Expo in Mays Landing

On March 12, NJ SHARES joined our community partners at the 2015 Economic and Energy Expo at the Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing, NJ.

The event aimed to inform those facing financial hardships in Atlantic County of all the resources available. Hundreds of households attended the event – each had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office’s R.E.A.L Help Program, Atlantic City Electric, South Jersey Gas, NJ SHARES, New Jersey American Water, Family Service Association, United Way and other county social service providers to discuss assistance programs and service options available throughout the community.

At the event, NJ SHARES’ Dena Shipley (pictured here, far left) joined utility company partners Vincent Maione and Alita Corbett from Atlantic City Electric (center) and Peter Eschbach from New Jersey American Water (far right). NJ SHARES’ partnerships with ACE and NJAW make it possible to provide life sustaining services such as electric and water assistance to customers in need. Likewise, community partners, like the Family Service Association and United Way, ensure that NJ SHARES assistance programs reach the people who need them most.

 




Veterans Attend GI GO Fund Job Fair

NJ SHARES Joins 7th Annual Newark Veterans Job Fair

On Monday March 16th, more than 500 people – including active duty personnel, veterans and their families – participated in the 7th Annual Newark Veterans Job Fair hosted by The GI Go Fund at Rutgers-Newark’s Paul Robeson Campus Center.

At the fair, veterans had the chance to meet with employers and support service agencies. These individuals helped them uncover all benefits available for their service, how to find a job and how to secure financial stability for them and their loved ones.

NJ SHARES joined more than 60 exhibitors, like PSEG, at the event. NJ SHARES participated as a safety net for veterans who might be having difficulty making ends meet while they look for employment, providing informational brochures and co-branded items to help spread the word that utility assistance is available.




Danielle Mayo & Dena Shipley

NJ SHARES Joins Wells Fargo Mobile Unit

NJ SHARES, the Family Service Association and other county social service providers joined the Wells Fargo Mobile Unit this month in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

From March 19-25, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage sent the Wells Fargo Mobile Unit to give special assistance to Atlantic City and surrounding communities. Residents who were facing financial difficulties had the opportunity to meet with Wells Fargo representatives and other dedicated individuals from various community resource programs to get valuable information regarding mortgage assistance and other financial needs.

Pictured here are Danielle Mayo, Volunteer & Community Partnership Coordinator for Family Service Association’s New Day Family Success Center and Dena Shipley, Outreach Coordinator for NJ SHARES.

 




Pictured from left Ė Kim Warrick and Cheryl Stowell from NJ SHARES with Congressman Tom MacArthur and NJ SHARES Board Member Claire Bartolommeo of PSE&G

LIHEAP Action Day, March 25, 2015

NJ SHARES joined the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) in Washington, DC on March 25 for LIHEAP Action Day – a day of advocacy for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Jim Jacob, Cheryl Stowell, Linda Ellis and Kim Warrick from NJ SHARES joined Board Chair Alita Corbett of Atlantic City Electric and more than 180 folks on Capitol Hill for meetings with their Congressional delegates, urging them to restore funding for the federal LIHEAP program to at least $4.7 billion for the upcoming fiscal year.

Check out some of our photos from LIHEAP Action Day. For more information about LIHEAP Action Day, visit NEUAC’s website at www.neuac.org


Updates


LIHEAP Closes April 30, 2015

Donít Forget: LIHEAP Closes April 30

The deadline to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is fast approaching. On April 30, application season will officially close until October. This federally-funded program assists eligible families and individuals with their energy bills.
 

For those still in need of assistance, New Jersey’s Universal Service Fund (USF), administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, can help by lowering gas and electricity costs for eligible households. USF was designed so that eligible New Jersey residents do not have to pay more than 6 percent of their annual income for their gas and electric utility service. Applicants whose incomes do not exceed 175% of the federal poverty level may apply for USF year-round, and those applying for LIHEAP assistance automatically have their application submitted to the USF.

Those who are not eligible for LIHEAP or USF but are unable to pay their utility bills due to circumstances beyond their control - such as unemployment, illness, medical expenses or other financial hardship – NJ SHARES is here to help. In addition to providing grants, NJ SHARES is able to connect low and moderate income households with important resources, offering education, information, referral and advocacy support. For more information, visit the NJ SHARES website at www.njshares.org or call the toll-free hotline – 1-866-NJSHARES (657-4273).

 




Ingrid R.

News from the NJS-VZ Client Services Call Center

New Jersey SHARES Client Services Call Center has been assisting Verizon NJ Customers since October of 2005 and Ingrid R. has been with NJ SHARES in the Verizon Lifeline Call Center for 4 years.

After getting laid-off from my previous job, it was a grateful feeling receiving a phone call from my now Manager Kim W., offering me a part-time position at NJ SHARES in their Verizon Communications LifeLine Customer Service Department.   I thank God for the opportunity NJ SHARES granted me to work with an amazing crew and management.  It has been two years that I have given my all to assist clients by phone - answering their questions and understanding their concerns.  “Until you understand your customers –deeply and genuinely – you cannot truly serve them.”  Rasheed Ogunlaru, Author of Soul Trader.




Social Security Administration

How to Apply Online For Social Security Disability Benefits

The most convenient way to apply for disability!!!

Think www.socialsecurity.gov first!!!

Why should I apply online for Social Security disability benefits?

Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:

  • You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment;
  • You can apply from the convenience of your home, or on any computer; and
  • You can avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money.

How secure is my personal information?

We use the most secure technology on the Internet to keep your information private.

How do I apply online?

Follow these four simple steps:

Step 1 - Review the Adult Disability Checklist

Step 2Fill out the Disability Benefit Application

Step 3Fill out the Adult Disability Report

Step 3Fill out the Authorization to Disclose Information Form and mail or take it to your Social Security Office.

Electronic Signature Process For Form SSA-827

Applying Online For Disability Benefits – Video - Webinar.

A number of enhancements have been made to Social Security’s online disability application, making it easier and more convenient to complete online. During this video - webinar, we will highlight the new aspects of this online application and tell you about other Social Security disability initiatives currently underway.

Please click below:

Watch the webinar (previously recorded)

Is the process easy to follow?

Yes. We ask only the questions that pertain to your situation, and we provide links to more information. Also, there are examples to help you. You can print or save a copy of the information you enter.

What information should I gather before I get started?

For the Disability Benefit Application., you should have:

  • Your Social Security number;
  • Direct deposit numbers (from a check, or ask your financial institution for the numbers) to have your monthly benefits deposited automatically;
  • Your W-2 Form from last year or, if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE);
  • An original or certified copy of your birth certificate and, if you were born in another country, we also need proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency;
  • Information about any workers’ compensation claim you have filed, including date of injury, claim number, and proof of any payments made to you; and
  • If you were in the military service, the original or certified copy of your military discharge papers (Form DD 214) for all periods of active duty.

For the Adult Disability Report., you should have:

  • The name, address, and phone number of someone who knows about your condition and can help with your claim;
  • Information about your illnesses, injuries, and conditions, including dates of treatment, and patient ID numbers; and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the medical providers who treated you;
  • Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them;
  • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who requested the tests;
  • Medical records that you already have; and
  • A list of up to five jobs and dates you worked during the last 15 years.

Do I have to finish all the questions in one session?

No. If you need more time, you can save the information you entered and then stop. We will give you separate numbers for the Disability Benefit Application and the Adult Disability Report that you can enter when you want to return to answer the rest of the questions.

What if I can’t answer everything?

Even if you are unable to answer all the questions on the Adult Disability Report, you may still submit it to us. We will help you get the missing information.

However, make sure you complete the Disability Benefit Application and select the “Submit Now” button.

What happens next?

We will ask you to sign a medical release form that allows us to get information from your doctors.

You also can print a cover sheet that you can use to send us a signed medical release and any medical records you already have in your possession.

We will contact you if we need more information about your claim.

Once we have all the information we need to make a decision about your disability claim, we will send you a letter.

Availability

The online forms are available to you seven days a week during the following hours (Eastern time):

Monday-Friday: 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.

Saturday: 5 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Sunday: 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Holidays: 5 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Contacting Social Security

For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.

Seguro Social - Solicite para beneficios de incapacidad por Internet (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/espanol/soliciteporincapacidad/)

 



New Jersey SHARES | www.njshares.org
1901 North Olden Avenue Extention Suite 1-A | Ewing, NJ 08618-2111
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email info@njshares.org
Copyright 2013, NJ SHARES.
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About NJ SHARES | Where To Apply | How You Can Help | Other Programs | Agency Use Only

New Jersey SHARES
1901 North Olden Avenue Extension, Suite 1A | Ewing, NJ 08618
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email info@njshares.org
Copyright 1998-2015, NJ SHARES. All Rights Reserved.


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