Work First New Jersey: Programs and Supports

For those who did not read the series last month on welfare, this article summarizes a number of programs and support services available to TANF families in New Jersey. Listed below are a number of documents that were recently published by either the New Jersey Division of Family Development or created in partnership with other agencies. They attempt to provide a working knowledge of services and benefits available to families trying to leave the welfare system.

Information in the documents cover such topics as: employment disregards, the Supplemental Work Support program, the SAIF program, Post-TANF benefits, Transitional Child Care and the Career Advancement Voucher Program.

Follow the links to:

For purposes of clarification, I had the pleasure of collaborating with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless in creating the Post-TANF flyer and the Stuck…On Welfare? brochure, respectively. The WFNJ Handbook and the Support for Working Families brochure were published by the Division of Human Services.

For information on child care and other links visit the NJ Community Resources website.

Do You Feel Stuck On Welfare?

“Do you feel STUCK… …on Welfare?” is the title of a brochure produced in partnership with a nonprofit organization, The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. It provides information on a number of programs and is written for TANF clients, as well as families who have left welfare. For New Jersey nonprofits that provide counseling to low-income customers it offers useful information for new staff.

A few items in the Coalition’s brochure are worth highlighting. For example:
Employment Disregards provide an incentive to work. Earnings are completely disregarded in the first month of employment. It must be reported within ten days of receiving the first paycheck. Thereafter, 75% of gross earnings are disregarded, for up to six months. If a household remains eligible after the sixth month the disregard falls to 50%. For a full explanation consult an eligibility worker or case manager at your local county welfare agency.

Clients who are working but remain eligible for a partial grant may opt in to the Supplemental Work Support program. An application must be requested for SWS before the cash assistance case closes. Ask to speak to an income eligibility worker.

The brochure also makes references to stopping the clock. Families need to be reminded that welfare is time limited. Unless exempted, cash assistance ends after sixty months. The Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF) program provides intensive case management services to individuals as they approach the 60 month limit.

Families are encouraged to take advantage of a number of Post-TANF benefits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) both federal and state, transportation services, child care, energy assistance (LIHEAP, USF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

This Welfare to Work brochure is available for downloading.

This is the third and last article in a series pertaining to welfare and workforce development.