North Carolina Work First Family Assistance

Work First Family Assistance is North Carolina’s version of TANF that offers up to 24 months of cash assistance and employment services to very poor families.

This program helps parents support themselves and their families by offering short-term training and other services to increase the chances of employment. Ultimately, the goal is to help all families move to self-sufficiency.

As a condition of eligibility, Work First applicants are required to register for the First Stop Employment Assistance Program with the Employment Security Commission (ESC), unless there is a good cause.

Failure to register results in the family’s ineligibility for Work First Family Assistance.


How much is a Work First check in NC? #


How much is a Work First check in NC largely depends upon your family’s income and size. North Carolina pays a maximum of $272 a month to a family of three with little or no income.

In addition, NC also issues a one-time payment of $265 for each child receiving TANF benefits during the pandemic.

How do I apply for cash assistance in NC? #


Applications for cash assistance through Work First can be made in person at a local Departments of Social Services in the county in which you reside. All applications will be screened, evaluated for eligibility, and processed, usually within forty-five (45) days.

To set up an appointment, please call

Families who are experiencing a temporary crisis associated with employment may apply for Benefit Diversion as an alternative to traditional cash assistance.

Eligible families may receive a one-time lump-sum payment equal to a maximum of three (3) months of Work First benefits.

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