You are here:

New Jersey Lifeline Credit Program

New Jersey Lifeline Credit Program

New Jersey Permanent Statutes

TITLE 48 PUBLIC UTILITIES

48:2-29.16. Eligibility for Lifeline Credit Program

Any residential electric or gas customer who on July 1 of any year or at any time during the succeeding six months is: a. enrolled in, found eligible for, or, except for the provisions of section 4 of P.L. 1975, c. 194 (C. 30:4D-23), would be eligible for benefits under the program of "Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled," established pursuant to P.L. 1975, c. 194 (C. 30:4D-20 et seq.), as amended and supplemented; or b. receiving or is eligible to receive benefits under the program of Supplemental Security Income (P.L. 1973, c. 256, C. 44:7-85 et seq.); or c. receiving disability benefits pursuant to the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s. 416(i)) and meets the income and residency requirements of the "Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled" program, shall be eligible for the "Lifeline Credit Program" established by this act.  The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services shall establish a schedule of eligible customers who meet such qualifications.

L. 1979, c. 197, s. 2, eff. Sept. 18, 1979. Amended by L. 1980, c. 92, s. 3, eff. Aug. 26, 1980; L. 1985, c. 291, s. 3.

48:2-29.17. Credit against electric or gas utility bills

The "Lifeline Credit Program" shall consist of an annual credit against the electric or gas utility bill of each eligible residential electric or gas customer at his principal residence. Such credit shall be applied to the electric or gas utility bills of such customer as soon as may be practicable, but in no case later than the bills issued in October of each year or as soon thereafter as eligibility is determined, and shall be applied to each subsequent utility bill after the first until the full amount of the credit is exhausted. No household shall receive more than one annual credit. In the event that electric and gas are provided to the same customer by the same utility, the total annual credit shall be applied to the combined bills from such utility. In the event that electric and gas are provided to the same customer by two separate utilities, half of the total annual credit shall be applied to the bills from each such utility. The annual credit shall be $200.00. Subject to the availability of appropriations, the level of credit shall be increased to $225.00 beginning in October, 1984.

L.1979, c. 197, s. 3, eff. Sept. 18, 1979. Amended by L.1980, c. 92, s. 4, eff. Aug. 26, 1980; L.1981, c. 292, s. 1; L.1982, c. 140, s. 1; L.1983, c. 251, s. 1.

48:2-29.18. State payments to utilities for amount of credit; schedule; return of payments for unused credit; special state utility supplement to supplementary security income program.

Upon certification by the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, the State Treasurer shall pay to each electric and gas utility the amount of the credit provided for each eligible residential customer served by such utility. The payments shall be made pursuant to a schedule approved by the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting and payments made for unused credit shall be returned to the Casino Revenue Fund pursuant to a plan approved by him. For eligible residential customers receiving benefits pursuant to the program of Supplementary Security Income under P.L.1973, c. 256 (C. 44:7-85 et seq.), the credit shall consist of a special State utility supplement to the Supplementary Security Income program and shall be made in 12 monthly installments. If, at the end of a year, a person eligible for the special State utility supplement has not received the full credit for that year, a payment for the balance thereof, shall, upon certification by the commissioner, be issued by the State Treasurer. This special State utility supplement shall be in addition to existing supplementary payments which have been or may be authorized and made pursuant to P.L.1973, c. 256 (C. 44:7-85 et seq.).

L.1979, c. 197, s. 4, eff. Sept. 18, 1979. Amended by L.1980, c. 92, s. 5, eff. Aug. 26, 1980; L.1981, c. 210, s. 8, eff. July 20, 1981; L.1984, c. 159, s. 1, eff. Sept. 29, 1984.

48:2-29.19. Rules and regulations; services of state departments, boards, etc.

a. The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services is authorized to promulgate, pursuant to law, such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

b. The commissioner shall be entitled to call upon the assistance, or contract for the services, of any State department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

L.1979, c. 197, s. 5, eff. Sept. 18, 1979. Amended by L.1980, c. 92, s. 6, eff. Aug. 26, 1980.

48:2-29.20. Notice of lifeline credit program

The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services is authorized to direct each electric and gas utility to inform each eligible residential customer of the "Lifeline Credit Program" by separate notice. The commissioner shall approve the content of any such notice. Prior to issuing any such direction to a utility, and prior to approving any such notice, the commissioner shall consult with the President of the Board of Public Utilities.

L.1979, c. 197, s. 6, eff. Sept. 18, 1979. Amended by L.1980, c. 92, s. 7, eff. Aug. 26, 1980.

48:2-29.21. Annual report on lifeline credit program

The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services shall submit a report on the "Lifeline Credit Program" to the Legislature on August 15, 1981, and annually thereafter. Such report shall include, but shall not be limited to, a summary of the implementation of the program, a study of its impact, any recommendations for its revision, and an estimate of the practicability and feasibility of expanding the program to include other needy residential electric and gas utility customers. The report shall also include an examination of alternative revenue sources to fund such a program.

L.1979, c. 197, s. 7, eff. Sept. 18, 1979. Amended by L.1980, c. 92, s. 8, eff. Aug. 26, 1980; L.1981, c. 210, s. 9, eff. July 20, 1981.

48:2-29.22. Transfer of responsibility for administration, powers and duties from board of public utilities to commissioner of department of human services

The responsibility for the administration of the "Lifeline Credit Program" and all powers and duties in connection therewith is transferred from the Board of Public Utilities to the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. The personnel, records, files, equipment, books, appropriations, grants and other moneys of the "Lifeline Credit Program" are transferred from the Board of Public Utilities in the Department of Energy to the Department of Human Services in accordance with the "State Agency Transfer Act," P.L.1971, c. 375 (C. 52:14D-1 et seq.).

L.1980, c. 92, s. 9, eff. Aug. 26, 1980.

48:2-29.30. Legislative findings and declarations

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the extraordinary and unprecedented energy costs in recent years have had a deleterious financial impact on senior citizens and disabled residents in this State, many of whom must meet their regular living expenses on fixed incomes; that the voters of this State recognized the seriousness of this situation in 1976 by approving an amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey which provides that all State revenues derived from the taxation of gambling establishments in Atlantic City be dedicated to reducing the property taxes, rentals, telephone, gas, electric, and municipal utility charges of eligible senior citizens and disabled residents; and, that in 1979 this Legislature created the "Lifeline Credit Program," which utilizes casino revenues to provide eligible senior citizens and disabled residents who are residential electric or gas customers with a credit against their utility charges.

The Legislature further finds and declares that many of the senior citizens and disabled residents in this State live in accommodations where they do not receive an individual utility bill, and therefore are not eligible for the "Lifeline Credit Program," even though they meet all the other requirements of the program; and, that these citizens, no less than those who receive individual utility bills, deserve financial relief from burdensome energy costs.

The Legislature, therefore, determines that it serves a public purpose, and is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, to establish a tenants' lifeline assistance program, and to fund such a program with revenues derived from the taxation of casinos.

L.1981, c. 210, s. 1, eff. July 20, 1981.

48:2-29.31. Tenants' lifeline assistance program; establishment and administration

The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, hereinafter referred to as the commissioner, shall establish and administer a program which shall be known as the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program."

L.1981, c. 210, s. 2, eff. July 20, 1981.

48:2-29.32. Eligibility for Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program

Any residential tenant not receiving an individual electric or gas utility bill who at any time between July 1 and December 31, 1981, or at any time between July 1 and December 31 of any year thereafter, is: a. enrolled in, found eligible for, or, except for

the provisions of section 4 of P.L. 1975, c. 194 (C. 30:4D-23), would be eligible for benefits under the program of "Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled," established pursuant to P.L. 1975, c. 194 (C. 30:4D-20 et seq.), as amended and supplemented; or b. receiving or is eligible to receive benefits under the program of Supplemental Security Income (P.L. 1973, c. 256, C. 44:7-85 et seq.); or c. receiving disability benefits pursuant to the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s. 416(i)) and meets the income and residency requirements of the "Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled" program, shall be eligible for the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program." The commissioner shall establish a schedule of eligible residential tenants who meet such qualifications. For the purposes of this act, "residential tenant" means a person renting or leasing real property, including a mobile home park site, as his principal residence, including a net lease residential tenant, as well as a person who is a resident shareholder in a nonprofit residential cooperative or mutual housing corporation, both defined pursuant to P.L. 1977, c. 241 (C. 54:4-3.80 et seq.), or an owner of a condominium as such is defined pursuant to P.L. 1963, c. 168 (C. 46:8A-1 et seq.) and P.L. 1969, c. 257 (C. 46:8B-1 et seq.).

L. 1981, c. 210, s. 3, eff. July 20, 1981. Amended by L. 1985, c. 291, s. 4.

48:2-29.33. Annual tenants assistance payment; limitations

Any residential tenant found eligible for the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program" shall be entitled to an annual tenant's assistance payment, except as otherwise provided herein, at his principal residence. No household or rental unit, as appropriate, shall receive more than one tenant's assistance payment for any fiscal year. No household shall receive during the same fiscal year both a tenant's assistance payment and a lifeline credit allowed pursuant to P.L.1979, c. 197 (C. 48:2-29.15 et seq.). The annual tenant's assistance payment shall be $200.00. Subject to the availability of appropriations, the level of assistance shall be increased to $225.00 beginning in October, 1984.

L.1981, c. 210, s. 4, eff. July 20, 1981. Amended by L.1982, c. 139, s. 1; L.1983, c. 250. s. 1.

48:2-29.34. Certification by commissioner; issuance of payment; date; special state utility supplement to supplemental security income program

a. Upon certification by the commissioner, the State Treasurer shall issue a tenants assistance payment to each residential tenant found eligible for the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program." For residential tenants found eligible between July 1 and December 31 of 1981 or any year thereafter, the tenants assistance payment shall be made during October, or as soon as practicable after eligibility has been determined, and during October of each year thereafter for which eligibility is determined.

b. For eligible residential tenants receiving benefits pursuant to the program of Supplementary Security Income under P.L.1973, c. 256 (C. 44:7-85 et seq.), the tenants assistance payment shall consist of a special State utility supplement to the Supplementary Security Income program and shall be made in 12 monthly installments. If, at the end of a year, a person eligible for the special State utility supplement has not received the full tenants assistance payment for that year, a payment for the balance thereof shall, upon certification by the commissioner, be issued by the State Treasurer. This special State utility supplement shall be in addition to existing supplementary payments which have been or may be authorized and made pursuant to P.L.1973, c. 256 (C. 44:7-85 et seq.).

L.1981, c. 210, s. 5, eff. July 20, 1981. Amended by L.1984, c. 159, s. 2, eff. Sept. 29, 1984.

48:2-29.35. Rules and regulations; assistance from or contracts for services of state agency

a. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate, pursuant to law, such rules and regulations as may be necessary to effectuate the purpose of this act.

b. The commissioner shall be entitled to call upon the assistance, or contract for the services, of any State department, board, bureau, commission or agency as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

L.1981, c. 210, s. 6, eff. July 20, 1981.

48:2-29.36. Annual report to legislature and Governor

The commissioner shall submit a report on the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program" to the Legislature and the Governor on August 15 of each year, in conjunction with the annual report submitted on the "Lifeline Credit Program," pursuant to P.L.1979, c. 197 (C. 48:2-29.15 et seq.). Such report shall include, but shall not be limited to, a summary of the implementation of the program, a study of its impact, any recommendations for its revision, and an estimate of the practicability and feasibility of expanding the program to include other needy residential electric and gas utility customers.

L.1981, c. 210, s. 7, eff. July 20, 1981.