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Este pagina en espanol Pay for performance begins today for North Carolina’s Work First participants

Release Date: October 1, 2009
Contact: Lori Walston, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – Today brings a shift in philosophy for North Carolina's Work First program. Effective October 1 this shift, called Work First Benefits/Pay for Performance, is being implemented statewide by the state Division of Social Services (DSS), which administers Work First benefits in North Carolina.

Most Work First participants will begin to receive their benefits after they have completed the requirements of actively working, actively engaging in activities that lead to work or actively searching for work rather than receiving them prior to completion of these monthly requirements. This very successful work program has reduced North Carolina’s welfare rolls significantly over the past 15 years.

DSS has been working with local county departments of social services for more than a year to help the counties prepare for the changes.

“We have worked very closely with these counties to learn best practices that can be applied across North Carolina,” said Sherry Bradsher, director of NC DSS. “We believe that North Carolina is ready to implement this restructured plan.”

Several county departments of social services have used some version of pay for performance standards since the program began in 1995; however, six North Carolina counties--Cumberland, Guilford, New Hanover, Person, Robeson and Wilson--specifically piloted Work First Benefits.

The change also helps to ensure that North Carolina’s Work First participation rate stays above the federal standards that can affect Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding.

“Our TANF programs, including Work First, are vital to the success of North Carolina’s low-income families,” Bradsher said. “We could not allow North Carolina to risk losing this important funding by having our participation rate drop below the federal 50 percent standard. Not only will these changes better prepare Work First participants to function in the working world by having their benefits mirror how they would be paid at any job, but we are also helping to ensure that we are able to continue providing services to families in need.”

For more information about Work First, please contact Dean Simpson at 919-334-1234.



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