Work First Family Assistance
You may be eligible for Work First Benefits if...
- You are a citizen of theUSor a qualified immigrant
- You are a resident of Scotland County
- You are the caretaker of a child 18 years old living in your home
- You meet the kinship rule (living with a parent, a relative who meets the kinship rule or if you have court ordered legal custody or legal guardianship of a child)
- You meet the resource limit
- You have not exhausted your State or Federal time limits (applies when parents are included in the case)
- Total countable earned and unearned income must not exceed the Need Standard for your family unit.
Work First Employment Services
All families are now limited to 5 years of assistance, lifetime (60 cumulative months). This “time clock” stops only when a family no longer receives any services or benefits from Work First Family Assistance (WFFA). The 5 year time clock does not stop even if you are ill or disabled when you are receiving WFFA. This is a Federal time limit and follows the family from State to State.
In North Carolina, families who are active in the Employment Services are also on a 2 year time clock (24 cumulative months) with the goal of having paid employment before the 2 years are up. Families that have received assistance for 24 months must wait three years to reapply for WFFA.
- During the 2 year time period, Single Parent Families are required to complete at least 20-30 hours each week of work-related activities based of the age of their youngest child. Two Parent Families are required to complete at least 35 hours each week.
The required work related activities may include:
- *Job Search
- *Work Experience
- *Cooperation with Employment Security Commission
- *Vocational Education Training
- *Short term, employment focused activities
* These activities are geared toward the ultimate goal of Paid Employment and self-sufficiency.
Work First Employment Social Workers will help participants meet their requirements through supportive services such as: help with transportation, child care and other services as specified on their MRA Plan of Action. They will also make referrals to other community services and resources to help the participant to become self-sufficient.
Work First Family Assistance
In Work First Family Assistance we work with two types of families.
We work with Child Only Families in which the parent is not included in the case. In these cases the child/children live with parent/parents who receives SSI, an eligible relative or with someone who have court ordered legal custody or legal guardianship of the child/children. In these cases no adult can be include in the case.
With our Child Only Families we have a Contracted Worker who works with caretakers. She has a monthly support group meeting to talk about other resources and services that may be available to them. She also makes referrals to other community services and resources to help with problems or needs these children may have if they are available.
We work with Families where the parent/parents are included in the case. These families have a State time limit of 24 months and a Federal lifetime limit of 60 months. The Federal time limit follows the parent from state to state. Every month that a parent receives a Work First Check it counts toward their time clocks.
Once they receive 24 checks they have to go off our program for 3 years. During that time they can ask for an extension and if they are approved they can receive Work First for up to 6 months. They can request an extension more than one time.
Once they receive 60 checks they can not receive Work First again unless they request and are approved for a hardship extension.
The parent/parents have to complete work related activities each month to receive a Work First check for that month unless they have good cause. Once the hours have been completed and verified by the Employment Worker the Work First Check for that month is released the following month. (The February check is released in March) If they have a child under the age of 6 they have to complete 20 hours a week. If their youngest child is 6 years old or older they have to complete 30 hours a week. If both parents are in the home they have to complete a total of 35 hours a week. These activities include job search, work experience, short term training, education and VR services.
Along with completing the required hours the parent/parents have to comply with all requirements on the Mutual Responsibility Agreement. They have to keep all scheduled appointment with their workers, comply with child support, they have to verify their child/children are up to date with their health checks and immunization. They also must report all changes in their situation within 10 calendar days.
Single parents with a child under the age of 1 can be exempted from the work activities for a limit of 12 months in their lifetime.
If a parent is receiving child support once they are approved for Work First Family Assistance their child support starts going to the state to pay the state back for the Work First Family Assistance check.