Until very recently, people in New Jersey who were convicted of distributing drugs were not eligible to receive general assistance (GA). However, people who were convicted of a violent felony are eligible for GA. That rule had been in effect for 25 years. GA, which is considered a housing program, gives low-income adults who do not have dependent children $185/month. It may not seem like a great deal of money but it is often enough for the recipient to be able to rent a room and thus have a roof over their head.
Another important fact is that eligibility in the GA program is a prerequisite for eligibility to receive other social services benefits, such as job training, housing assistance, and other services. Those benefits can potentially help the recipient to turn their life around and to have some sort of a future. Until now, if a person convicted of drug distribution could not receive GA benefits, once they were released from prison, they often had no place to go. Homelessness often leads to desperation and other dire consequences.
The law can make all of the difference
Now that the GA ban has been lifted in New Jersey, many people who are in that situation may find their life improved. If you are in a similar situation, sound legal advice from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer may prove to be extremely valuable. Legal support can often enable you to secure your freedom, regain financial security, and protect your family.
Everyone makes mistakes. You stand up and accept responsibility and then you put your life back together and work toward a brighter future for you and for your family. What is most important is that you move on from your mistakes from the past and emerge stronger and more confident than before.
Laws should always be fair and just
The idea that the GA ban has been lifted after so many years is an encouraging sign that the law wishes to recognize that all people should be treated fairly and equally, no matter what mistakes they have made in the past.