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On Monday, North Carolina suspended its Work First program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, because of the federal shutdown in Washington. Due to this, no cash assistance or employment services are being offered to current recipients in Buncombe County. New applications as well as re-certifications are being accepted but not processed until funds are reinstated.
According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, those who are already signed up for the short-term assistance program will receive their October checks. Buncombe County Health and Human Services notified TANF recipients on Friday, October 11, 2013, about the suspension of funds. Buncombe County’s Health and Human Services is working with local safety net providers to ensure those families who are affected will have access to additional supports.
TANF provides short-term training, cash, child care referrals and other services to help parents become employed, and it usually provides assistance for only two years. In Buncombe County, the total number of TANF cases is 341, with 231 (68%) of the cash assistance going to households with guardians of children who no longer live with their parents. These “child only” cases are instrumental in diverting children from foster care. The average monthly payment is $206.20.