Work First

North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, called Work First, is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and other services to help them become employed and self-sufficient, but the responsibility is theirs. Most families have two years to move off Work First Family Assistance.

Work First focuses on three strategies. These include:

Diversion – helping families cope with unexpected emergencies;

Work – reducing the time families are on Work First by making work mandatory and limiting how long families receive cash benefits

Retention – helping families stay off public assistance by encouraging them to save and helping them realize that working is better than welfare

To receive Work First Family Assistance benefits, parents must:

Once they move into the work components of the program, they can continue to receive benefits for up to 24 months. In most cases, families who have reached the 24-month limit cannot receive Work First Family Assistance for three years.

The Work First Program provides services to aid families in achieving self-sufficiency. These include, but are not limited to:

  • job readiness / employment
  • furthering education
  • child wellness checks / immunizations
  • being more self-sufficient
  • physical and mental health improvements for families

How to apply:

Apply online at

Apply by mail: Call 919-603-3328 for an application. Mail back to P.O. Box 966, Oxford, NC 27565





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