Work First Manual

001 - Work First Preface & Philosophy

  1. The move to work first
  2. The effect on families and local service delivery
  3. Philosophy of work first
  4. Role of stakeholders
  5. The implementation of work first

002 – Non Discrimination Policy And Grievance Procedures

  1. Non-discrimination compliance
  2. County responsibilities
  3. Discrimination grievance procedures

003 – The Planning Process For Work First

  1. The state temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) plan
  2. Electing counties
  3. The planning process for electing counties
  4. Electing plan elements
  5. Limitations on electing county policies
  6. The biennial process for standard counties
  7. Emergency assistance criteria for electing and standard counties
  8. Services for low-income families (at or below 200% of federal poverty level) for electing and standard counties
  9. Employment services for non-custodial parents (optional for standard and electing counties)
  10. Exemption from the work requirement for electing and standard counties
  11. Amendments

         Application processing procedures can be found in WF Manual Section 117

102 - Short-Term Services And Benefits

  1. Benefit diversion
  2. Emergency assistance
  3. Work first services for low-income families (below 200% of poverty)
  4. Employment services for non-custodial parents

103 - Personal Responsibility

  1. Personal responsibility
  2. The mutual responsibility agreement
  3. The work requirements
  4. The child support requirement
  5. The immunization and health screening requirement
  6. The school attendance requirement
  7. Minor parent requirements
  8. The work first reporting requirements

104 – Cash Assistance Application Process And Procedures

  1. Application procedures
  2. Application processing
  3. Documenting the case record

104A - Individual Criminal Violations

  1. An individual’s needs can not be included in the need standard when the individual is:
  2. Benefit calculation
  3. Treatment of individuals convicted of class h or i controlled substance abuse felony offenses
  4. Documentation

104B – Substance Use/Mental Health Initiative

  1. Background
  2. Substance use screening and referral
  3. Criminal history screening
  4. Referral process for substance use testing
  5. Assignment of a protective payee
  6. Non-compliance with the substance use screening and testing requirement
  7. Hearing rights and continued benefits
  8. Treatment of individuals convicted of class h & i controlled substance felony offenses in north carolina
  9. Applicants and recipients currently receiving substance use treatment/services
  10. Time clocks and participation
  11. Behavioral indicator checklist
  12. Voluntary mental health screening
  13. Good cause
  14. Reasonable accommodation
  15. Confidentiality
  16. Coordination of substance use testing procedures

104D – Family Violence Option

  1. Family violence
  2. Overview
  3. Local implementation plan
  4. Training
  5. Information concerning family violence
  6. Required notification of work first participants
  7. Screening of work first applicants/recipients
  8. Assessment
  9. Assessment report
  10. Two-parent households
  11. Waiver request
  12. Extensions to time clock
  13. Mutual responsibility agreement
  14. Corroboration of family violence
  15. Supportive services
  16. Change in county residence
  17. Voluntary nature of screening, assessment, and waiver
  18. Confidentiality
  19. Consequences for nonparticipation
  20. Referral to child protective services
  21. Notification to child support

105 - Federal And State Time Limits

  1. Introduction
  2. The 60-month time limit (federal)
  3. Work first 24-month time limit (state)
  4. Work First 60 Month State Time Clock for Custodial Parents

106 - Family CAP

  1. What is a family cap
  2. Which children are not affected by the family cap
  3. Applying the family cap policy
  4. Family cap tracking in EIS
  5. Special case situations

107 - Minor Parent Rules

  1. What are the minor parent rules?
  2. Who receives the payment for the minor parent?
  3. How does the caseworker assure the minor parent meets the additional requirements?

108 - State/County Residence Rule

  1. What is the residence rule for work first family assistance?
  2. How do you verify a family's residence?
  3. What happens when a family moves from one county in north Carolina to another?
  4. What happens if a family member fraudulently misrepresents his residence?

109 - Age Rule For Children

  1. The age rule for a child to receive work first family assistance
  2. Emancipation of a child
  3. Verification of the age of a child

110 – Social Security Number Requirement

  1. Social security number requirement
  2. Verifying the social security number requirement
  3. Social security number requirement for newborns
  4. Applying for a social security number

111 Citizenship/Immigrant Requirement

  1. Citizenship/immigrant requirement for work first
  2. United states citizenship and identity requirements
  3. Methods of verification for U.S. citizenship/identity
  4. Criteria for documents provided to verify citizenship and identity
  5. Qualified immigrant status
  6. Criteria for eligibility of battered immigrants
  7. The five-year exclusion for receipt of work first family assistance
  8. Restrictions for sponsored immigrant
  9. Insufficient USCIS documentation of immigrant status
  10. Special provisions for Soviet Jewish refugees
  11. Special provisions for victims of severe trafficking
  12. Requirements for reporting illegal presence in the United States

112 – Kinship And Living With Requirements

  1. Kinship and living with requirements
  2. Relationships that meet kinship requirements
  3. Joint custody
  4. Verifying kinship and living with requirements
  5. Temporary absence from the home
  6. Temporary absence reporting requirement and penalty for late reporting

114 – Income And Budgeting

  1. Countable income of household members
  2. Applying for other government benefits
  3. The work first payment calculation
  4. Job bonus
  5. Work first family assistance reporting
  6. Child support
  7. Contributions
  8. Work release funds
  9. Special instructions for bank accounts

115 - Resources

  1. What are the work first family assistance resource rules?
  2. Which resources count and which do not?
  3. Contacting a bank or financial institution

116 - Child Support Services

  1. Child support services for work first family assistance
  2. Assignment of rights to child support
  3. The rules about cooperation with child support
  4. Good cause for not making a referral
  5. Steps to follow if the family claims to have good cause for not making a referral.
  6. Requirements after good cause has been determined
  7. The affidavit of parentage
  8. Making a referral to child support services
  9. Failure to cooperate with child support without good cause

117 - Ongoing Assessment And Services


  1. Initial assessment
  2. Ongoing assessments
  3. Keys to effective use of assessment instruments
  4. Reassessment of cases prior to three (3) or twelve (12) months of termination
  5. Home visit assessments
  6. Federal disability laws and employment requirements
  7. Services and referrals
  8. Vocational rehabilitation and social security administration referrals
  9. Interpreter services
  10. Substance abuse/domestic violence
  11. Protective services
  12. Resources and service provision

118 – Work Requirements And Services

  1. Introduction
  2. Work registration requirements with the employment security commission
  3. Work-eligible individuals
  4. The mutual resonsibility agreement - plan of action
  5. Federal work activities
  6. State work activities
  7. Work activities chart
  8. Participation rates

119 – Work First Benefits

  1. Background
  2. Cases subject to work first benefits (WFB)
  3. WFB payment method
  4. Initial mutual responsibility agreements (MRA)
  5. Timely notice requirement
  6. Child support
  7. Reporting participation
  8. Issuing payments
  9. Failure to comply with MRAS
  10. Reapplications

120 - Sanctions

  1. Background
  2. Sanction for failure to cooperate with child support
  3. Sanction for failure to meet provisions of the mutual responsibility agreement (child-only cases)
  4. How does the work first sanction affect the family’s food and nutrition (FNS) benefits?
  5. Child care exception to a MRA sanction for work-related reason (applicable only to single-parent families)
  6. How sanctions affect time limits and supportive services
  7. Sanctions when a family moves from one county to another
  8. Responsibility of work first caseworkers to families under sanction

          Application processing procedures can be found in WF Manual Section 104.

140 – Automated Inquiry And Match Procedures

  1. General information
  2. Employment security commission (ESC)
  3. State data exchange (SDX)
  4. Beneficiary earnings exchange report (BEER) and financial resource report (FRR)
  5. Security procedures
  6. County action requirements
  7. Destruction
  8. Other security measures
  9. Department of transportation (DOT) inquiry
  10. Department of correction (DOC) inquiry
  11. Child support enforcement’s automated collection and tracking system (ACTS) new hire screen
  12. National directory of New Hire (NDNH)

201 – Cash Assistance Recertification Process and Procedures

  1. Recertification Requirements
  2. Penalty for a family that does not complete the recertification
  3. Verifying and documenting the family's eligibility

202 - Changes in Situation and County of Residence

  1. Changes in Situation
  2. Adding an Individual to a Work First Case (This is an Inclusion)
  3. Processing Changes Other Than Inclusions
  4. When a Family Moves From One County To Another Within North Carolina
  5. When a Family Moves Out of My (The Origination County)

203 - Administrative Reopen/Reapplication

  1. Administrative reopen and administrative reapplication
  2. Evaluating the family for an administrative reopen/reapplication
  3. Completing an administrative reapplication
  4. Cases eligible for work first in the first month but ineligible for ongoing work first
  5. County reassignments

204– Change In County of Residence- OBSOLETE 6/3/2020 
          Processing procedures can be found in WF Manual Section 202

205 - Payment Rules And Benefit Issuance

  1. Determination of case nominee/ payee for work first cash assistance
  2. Work first protective payee
  3. Selecting the payment issuance method
  4. Electronic benefits transfer
  5. Direct deposit
  6. Fees associated with the method of issuance
  7. Changes in situation
  8. Returning unspent funds
  9. Benefit issuance for cases in sanction
  10. NCFAST processing deadline
  11. Payment for a deceased case nominee/payee


207 – Fraud And Intentional Program Violations

  1. Disqualification for intentional program violation
  2. Limitations
  3. Timely action
  4. Hearing officer for administrative disqualification hearings
  5. Advance notice of hearing
  6. Scheduling of hearing
  7. Failure of the work first unit member to appear
  8. Notification following waiver of hearing
  9. Arrangements for the hearing
  10. Attendance at the hearing
  11. Rights and duties of participants
  12. Duties of the hearing officer
  13. The work first unit member
  14. The county department
  15. Conducting the hearing
  16. Hearing record
  17. Hearing decision
  18. Hearing officer's decision
  19. State level decision
  20. Overturned intentional program violation disqualification
  21. Disqualification penalties
  22. Notification-repayment not directed by the court
  23. Notification-repayment directed by the court

263 - Financial Responsibility: Part I - Overpayments

  1. Responsibility and requirements
  2. When an overpayment occurs
  3. How to calculate an overpayment
  4. How to collect recipient responsible overpayments
  5. Collection of recipient responsible overpayments when families move from one county to another
  6. How to report county responsible overpayments - active and inactive cases
  7. State responsible overpayments - active and inactive cases
  8. How to report recipient responsible overpayments - active and inactive cases

263 - Financial Responsibility: Part II - Underpayments

  1. Requirements
  2. How To Calculate An Underpayment
  3. How To Reimburse The Recipient

263 - Financial Responsibility: Part III - Reconciliation

  1. Compare the overpayment and underpayment when they both occur during the same period and are both recipient responsible.
  2. If an overpayment and underpayment occur during the same period and are both county responsible, the county must reimburse the recipient for the underpayment. The overpayment is collected by State Office adjustment.
  3. When an overpayment and underpayment occur during the same period and are not both county responsible, the county cannot determine a net overpayment or underpayment. Also, if an overpayment and/or underpayment occur during the same period and are not both recipient responsible, the county cannot determine a net overpayment or underpayment. In these situations, reimburse the recipient for any county responsible underpayments. Collect from the recipient any recipient responsible overpayments. A county responsible overpayment is collected by State Office adjustment.
  4. If a family unit is ineligible for a payment from which a collection was deducted, do not credit the family with the deduction. Add the collection amount, plus the ineligible payment amount, to the original overpayment balance. That amount is the new overpayment balance.

264 - Notice And Hearings Process

  1. Notice requirements
  2. Notice of benefits
  3. Notice of denial or withdrawal
  4. Work first/medicaid notice of inquiry, DSS–8191I Figure 10
  5. Notice to terminate or change benefits
  6. Timely notice
  7. Adequate notice
  8. Notice register report
  9. Hearings process
  10. Local hearing
  11. State hearing