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State officials suspend Work First

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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 1:46 pm

The state government has suspended an anti-poverty program that helps the unemployed and provides money to children cared for by grandparents or guardians.

Benefits will not be paid in November to people applying for or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, called Work First, if the government shutdown continues. Federal money for the welfare program is expected to run out Nov. 1. State officials say there is no guarantee North Carolina would be reimbursed if the state paid to keep the program operating.

Work First applications will continue to be taken at Jackson County Department of Social Services but will not be processed.

There are 24 children in Jackson County receiving money through the program. Adults with one child in the home receive about $181 a month, said Tammy Bradley, the Work First case manager in Jackson County. These are children who are not receiving child support, she said.

There are no Jackson County adults currently enrolled in Work First. The short-term program is designed to help welfare recipients get off public assistance within two years by providing training, limited cash benefits, child care and other services.

The state froze WIC services for low-income women and children last week. Within days, however, the Department of Health and Human Services reversed course and restarted the program.

Sylva, NC

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