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.

WFNJ Handbook

Twenty years ago “welfare as we know it” was fundamentally changed with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. New requirements and responsibilities are now a standard rule, along with the availability of a number of supportive services. Yet, after two decades, information is not be readily disseminated so welfare clients can make informed decisions in their efforts to become self-sufficient.

Every applicant for cash assistance is given a handbook which gives an overview of the program, available support services, as well as information on time limits, income disregards, work activities, deferrals and sanctions.

The handbook also details the many programs that individuals and families may receive both while receiving assistance and for the two year period following case closing. A number of these programs are under-utilized. They include: Supplemental Work Support (SWS), Career Advancement Voucher Program (CAVP), Transitional Child Care (TCC) and transportation services.

Available for downloading is the most current edition of the WFNJ Handbook, (revised April, 2016). Also available is a Spanish version.

This is the first in a series of articles and documents to be issued pertaining to welfare and workforce development.