Work First Family Services

Work-First Announcement for end of Covid-19 waivers image
You may be eligible for Work First benefits if:
  • You are a citizen of the US or a qualified immigrant
  • You are a resident of Richmond 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)
  • Your resources do not exceed $3000. (resources include, but are not limited to, money in checking or saving and cash on hand)
  • 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.
Number In Budget / Family Unit
Need Standard
1 $362
2 $472
3 $544
4 $594
5 $648
6 $698
7 $746
For each additional person in the budget / family unit, add $50 to the Need Standard for 14.

For further information contact Richmond County Department of Social Services at 910-997-8400 and ask to speak with a Work First worker.

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.

This program has the following requirements:
  • 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. Families with 2 parents are required to complete at least 35 hours each week.
  • The Mutual Responsibility Agreement (MRA) must be initialed and signed by each participant and will include specific activities to be completed.
  • Failure to initial and sign the initial MRA or any subsequent MRAs will result in immediate termination and/or denial of assistance. For Two Parent Families, both parents are required to initial and sign the initial MRA and any subsequent MRAs.
  • Once the MRA is signed, failure to comply with the terms of the MRA will result in immediate termination. The family will be ineligible for WFFA assistance for the month they fail to comply in unless they have good cause.
Related Activities
The required work related activities may include:
  • Job Search
  • Work Experience
  • Cooperation with Employment Security Commission
  • Vocational Education Training
  • Short term, employment focused activities
  • Community Service
  • Job Skills Training
  • Vocational Training
  • Education
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 2 types of families.

Child Only 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.

Child & Parents Families
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.

After 24 Checks

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.

After 60 Checks
Once they receive 60 checks they can not receive Work First again unless they request and are approved for a hardship extension.

Work Related Activities
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.

Mutual Responsibility Agreement
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.

Benefits Scale
Families that are approved for Work First Family Assistance receive a Work First check (if eligible) and Medicaid each month. For a family of 3 with no income they would receive $272 per month. If a family has income and the income minus deductions is less the Needs Standard for their family unit they would receive a reduced amount. The Needs Standard for a family of 3 is $544 per month. The family has to be eligible for a minimum of $25 per month to be eligible.

Child Support

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.
Work First Family Services Team
The Work First Family Services Team also serves as the agency’s Crisis Team. Individuals / families in crisis can contact the crisis team for information and community resources to help alleviate their need.