Emergency Assistance (Short-Term Financial Assistance for Families in Crisis)

Work First is North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for the Needy Families program. This program helps parents support themselves and their families by offering short-term training and other services to increase the chances of employment.
2019-2022 Draft TANF State Plan
2016-2019 Work First State Plan

Benefit Diversion

Benefit Diversion is an alternative to traditional cash assistance and helps families who are experiencing a temporary crisis associated with employment.
Benefit Diversion is an optional package of services that include:

  • A one-time lump-sum payment equal to a maximum of three months of Work First Family Assistance benefits
  • Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services
  • Referrals to child care and other community and agency resources
  • Employment services

Emergency Assistance

Families who are experiencing a financial emergency may be eligible for financial help to pay for housing and utilities.
Families that meet the following criteria may be eligible:

  • The family must have a child who lives with a relative as defined for Work First Family Assistance
  • Total income must be at or below 200% of poverty level
  • The family has proof of identity and citizenship

How to Apply

Work First applicants are required to register for the First Stop Employment Assistance Program with the Employment Security Commission. Failure to register results in the family's ineligibility for Work First Family Assistance.


Apply at your local Department of Social Services. If you have questions, please contact us.