North Carolina’s Work First Program is built upon the premise that all people have a responsibility to their families and community to work and provide for their children.
- Work is the foundation of our society.
- Every job has meaning and purpose.
A successful welfare reform program is contingent upon local communities accepting the responsibility to provide adequate employment and training opportunities for all citizens, including Work First Family Assistance applicants and recipients. North Carolina’s welfare system must encourage self-sufficiency, responsibility, independence, and employment.
To provide short-term financial and medical benefits to eligible families in order to assist them in becoming self-sufficient. The plan includes employment services and daycare.
A family must have a child under 18 years of age who is deprived of parental support of one or both parents according to the state definition of deprivation. All must be North Carolina residents and US citizens or legal permanent aliens. A family must have income and resource limits below established guidelines.
- There is a federal lifetime limit of 60 cumulative months of Work First benefits. North Carolina limits receipt of benefits to 24 cumulative months, then terminates benefits for 36 months before eligible again.
- Child Support referrals are completed for all absent parents unless good cause is established.
- Recipients must cooperate with the Employment Services Program in order to remove barriers to employment, obtain, and maintain employment. Non cooperation with this work requirement can result in termination or reduction in the cash assistance.
- Families who secure employment and successfully go off cash assistance can continue to receive: medical coverage for up to 12 months, FNS if eligible, and daycare assistance.
The purpose of Employment Services is to reduce dependence on public assistance by assisting Work First recipients to become employed and self-sufficient.
Participants are required to be involved in appropriate activities in Employment Services. We assess all active participants and enroll everyone in 40 hours per week of countable activities. The 40 hours can be made up of one or more activities. Program activities include work, vocational training, GED or Adult High School, job search, job readiness, and work experience.
Participants are provided supportive services that help them to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency. Supportive services may include childcare, transportation assistance or reimbursement, job referrals, referrals to other services, access of career center and computer, and participation expenses such as uniforms, tools for work, and car repairs.
Employment services staff provides case management services that include developing a Mutual Responsibility Agreement that outlines a plan to become self-sufficient. The goal of Work First Employment Services is to motivate and encourage parents to obtain employment and be self-sufficient.