The government is quick when it comes to taking action against criminals. But they also help them get back into society and get accepted despite their past. The state authorities are constantly working to assist the felons to get back on their feet. In New Jersey, the state department has been working for the welfare of felons for a long time. The state has launched the Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) welfare program, an initiative for a new and brighter future for people.
Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) – Overview
The Work First New Jersey is an initiative by the state department of New Jersey for needy people. They introduced this program to help families, adults, and felons by providing them assistance and helping in find jobs.
This assistance program helps these people find jobs and give up on government support. The program offers a maximum of 60 months of financial and other assistance, and it provides tools used to find new jobs. It aims to make families and felons financially independent while ensuring equal treatment in society.
The program also offers emergency assistance, child care, transportation assistance, and treatment for drug, alcohol, and mental health problem. In case the benefits are denied or suspended, you get a written notice with the option of a fair hearing.
A person must work or be a part of the work preparation activities to avail of the benefits. The person should also cooperate by giving information to determine eligibility for WFNJ assistance.
Guidelines for felons by Work First New Jersey (WFNJ)
The WFNJ program by the Department of Human Resources, New Jersey gives ex-convicts a second chance to get their lives back on track and earn an honest living. According to state law, certain restrictions ensure the eligibility of a felon for the program.
A person convicted of a drug distribution crime on or after August 22, 1996, is barred from the program and benefits. These people can get family care and Medicaid benefits from the program. However, they can apply to private companies for jobs.
In case of conviction in a drug possession or use crime, the convict is eligible for the WFNJ benefits. However, they have to enroll and participate in a licensed residential or drug treatment program before the clearance.
The person has to test drug-free during the program and the first 60 days after completion. The benefits are terminated if the test results are positive for drug traces. The person can also lose their job if the drug test comes positive.
Finding a job with WFNJ
After fulfilling the eligibility criteria, a person must participate in a job search to gain financial independence. The state will select a case manager for a group of people and inform them about their responsibilities. The most important responsibility for a participant is to engage in work activities with the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Many felons start a minimum wage job to gain work experience while learning new skills for a better paying job. Some even enroll themselves in state universities and colleges to get higher education. It is a good start for the felons towards being accepted as a part of society.
Once a felon is an active member of the WFNJ program, their income is among these combinations. They either receive it as a paycheck from their job or cash as an assistance benefit. A felon can opt for the Paycheck Plus program and get cash assistance and a paycheck for additional income.
Eligibility under the WFNJ program – For residents and aliens
For felons to take full advantage of the services, they are expected to have U. S. Citizenship. Anyone convicted of a felony and living in the U.S. before August 22, 1996, can receive the WFNJ benefits. Any ex-convict who entered the country after August 22, 1996, and is not a citizen of the U.S. cannot accept the benefits for five years.
This is not valid for felons who have relocated from some other countries. For example, Amerasian immigrants, Cuban entrants, asylees, refugees, and parolees might have different regulations.
A person can try their hand at applying for U.S. citizenship by reaching out to the immigration services.