Work First Family Assistance


Program Overview

The Work First Program provides short-term cash assistance to households containing an eligible child under the age of 18.

In 1996, North Carolina implemented its’ TANF program under the name of Work First. North Carolina's Work First Program was built upon the premise that "all people have a responsibility to their families and communities to work and to provide for their children.”

The number of North Carolina TANF recipients has gradually decreased due to various contributing factors, including but not limited to employment opportunities in today’s job market. 

Participation in the Onslow County TANF program has gone from 635 in 2016, to 272 in 2019. Onslow County currently averages 120 active cases, maintained by two Income Maintenance Caseworkers and one WFES Social Worker.

WFFA does not limit the ability to apply for benefits to biological parents. The following individuals can apply for an eligible child under the age of 18:

  • Biological or adoptive parents and stepparents 
  • Certain other relatives of a child: brother, sister, grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent, uncle or aunt, great uncle or aunt, great-great-uncle or aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin (kinship documentation must be provided).
  • Nonrelatives of a child that have legal custody (court order).
  • Work First cash assistance is not provided to pregnant women unless they have other eligible children in the home and meet all other eligibility requirements. 

The income guidelines are based on the number of eligible household members. For a household of 1, the income limit is $362.00, for a household of 2, the income limit is $472.00, and for a household of three the income limit is $544.00.

The law requires cooperation with the social services and child support agencies to get any support that may be due to you and any of the children for whom you want Work First family Assistance, unless you have good cause for not cooperating.

Onslow County aims to assist the community with employment retention for employed individuals with transportation barriers. Transportation services are offered to individuals who need transportation to work. If an individual applying for this service has a child enrolled in a childcare facility, he/she has the option to request to have his/her child transported to the childcare facility as well.

Applicants for Domestic Violence short-term assistance must have at least one child who meets the WFFA age requirement policy living with them, income at or below 200% poverty level, and verification of domestic violence.  Applicant must have resided away from the batterer at least 2 weeks prior to application to be considered for this assistance. Assistance will be limited to one time only when funds are available. 

Anyone who wishes to apply for the Work First Family Assistance Program (WFFA) can do so by stopping by the local DSS agency, located at 612 College Street, Jacksonville NC, 28540. The agency’s contact number is 910-455-4145. Work First applications and interviews must be completed and conducted in person. Online and paper applications are not an option for this program.