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New Jersey's welfare reform program, WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ), was initiated in April 1997, following the passage of sweeping federal reforms in 1996, known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Under the Act, the federal program for families became known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

New Jersey's welfare program for families is known as WorkFirst New Jersey Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (WFNJ/TANF). The state also has a program for single adults and couples without children, known as WorkFirst New Jersey General Assistance (WFNJ/GA).

WFNJ limits assistance to a maximum of five years over a participant's lifetime, with certain exceptions.

To Receive Assistance
You will need to cooperate with child support requirements if you have dependent children.
  • You will have to work, actively look for work or participate in an approved work activity.

Note: the law provides that victims of family/domestic violence may be granted waivers from certain requirements.

Work Is the Goal
The WorkFirst New Jersey program:
  • works to end welfare dependency by limiting assistance to five years, and offering you the tools to find a job and to take pride in working toward independence.

  • works to help children by helping you get child support payments to care for your dependent children.

  • works toward self-sufficiency by allowing you to keep more of your paycheck when you get a job.

  • works to keep you on the job by helping with child care, health care, transportation, housing and other support services, if needed.

  • works for a brighter future for parents and children by keeping teen parents at home and in school.

Work is the goal
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