Let’s start by understanding what the TANF program and WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ) are all about. These programs are designed to provide essential assistance and support to those facing financial challenges. TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is a government initiative aimed at helping low-income families achieve self-sufficiency through various forms of aid, including cash benefits and employment services.
WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ), on the other hand, is the name for New Jersey’s specific implementation of the TANF program. So, yeah, as you read, both names refer to the same initiative. And amid the COVID-19 pandemic, recertification processes were briefly put on hold, and the duration of benefits was extended to support individuals and families in need. However, as of the present moment, these extensions have come to an end, and it is now necessary to complete the TANF recertification process. Here’s a guide on how to proceed.
TANF benefits in New Jersey: Learn to recertify your WorkFirst NJ assistance
From time to time you will have to recertify your TANF benefits, as established by the WorkFirst NJ program. This is necessary for the system to ensure that people continue to meet the qualification criteria, and that the money effectively goes to the households that need it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the recertifications were paused and recipients’ benefits were extended, but now they’re back to normal.
But, how do you know you have to recertify your benefits? Well, first you’ll receive a Notice of Expiration letter from your board of social services when you are due for recertification. When this happens, you have to get in touch with your local board of social services if you have questions about your notice or if you need help completing your recertification.
Keep in mind that WorkFirst NJ services have a maximum duration of five years. Following this period, you might qualify for the Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF) program.
How do I qualify for TANF WorkFirst NJ assistance in New Jersey?
To be eligible for WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ) benefits, specific criteria must be met, starting from the requirement to be a US citizen, legal immigrant, or possess lawful permanent resident status. Also, your employment status is a crucial factor. To qualify for WFNJ benefits, you need to be either unemployed or underemployed, earning wages that fall well below the maximum allowable income limit. For instance, in the state of New Jersey, a family is deemed “needy” when their countable income amounts to $839 or less per month for a family consisting of three members. Additionally, the limit for countable resources should not exceed $2,000.
If you are a teen parent (under age 18), you must reside at household with your parents, or with another responsible adult relative. If you are under age 20 and have not finished high school, you must attend high school or a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) program to be eligible for this TANF benefits.
WFNJ also offers Emergency Assistance (EA) in specific circumstances. These provisions encompass crucial provisions like food, clothing, shelter, and essential household items. They also extend to temporary rental aid, assistance with past due rent or mortgage payments, utility bill support (including heating, water, and electricity), transportation assistance for housing searches, and coverage for relocation expenses.
Eligibility extends to individuals who are currently homeless or facing imminent homelessness, as well as those who have suffered significant losses of housing, food, clothing, or household belongings due to incidents such as fires, floods, or comparable disasters. Explore all your options at the official WorkFirst NJ website here.