Employment for Temporary Assistance Clients
As a result of Federal and State welfare reform legislation, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) and Safety Net (those without minor dependant child(ren) in the household) customers are required to actively search for work, show proof of their job search efforts, accept a job when it is offered, or participate in work activity assignment. The NCDSS offers a variety of assistance programs to help customers achieve self-sufficiency.
The Nassau County Department of Social Services Employment Unit helps public assistance recipients obtain employment. They provide job counseling and placement services to individuals receiving temporary assistance. It also provides a direct service to local employers by providing client pre-assessments, screening of potential employees, and cost savings for local businesses. To learn more about their service, please call 516-227-8656.
In addition the NCDSS has contractual agreements with three agencies to assist our TANF customers find full-time employment. Employment services include pre-employment services such as skills assessment, resume preparation, interview techniques, employer/employee expectations, coping skills, conflict resolution, and job placement. Post-employment retention services are designed to ensure that employment is maintained even when problems and/or crises arise. The Welfare Reform Act of 1997 mandates that TANF and Safety Net applicants and recipients be screened for the presence of an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Identifying and assessing clients with substance abuse and mental health problems are the first steps in dealing with these potential barriers to employment. Staff training on substance abuse, the use of appropriate screening instruments, and co-location of substance professionals offer possible solutions to overcoming these obstacles.
Case Managers also play a pivotal role in the job placement and job retention of their customers. Their responsibilities include following up and assisting customers in the planning and coordination of pre- and post-employment support services to ensure job retention and eventual welfare case closing.
Other programs and services offered to assist customers in the transition from Public Assistance to employment include:
- Child Health Plus Health Insurance
- Food Assistance Program
- Transportation - Welfare reform will not succeed unless workers can get to jobs and to supportive service. Using guidelines recently issued by the Federal Transit Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor on the use of TANF funds and Welfare-to-Work funds for transportation needs, the NCDSS is studying new approaches to addressing transportation needs utilizing alternative methods.
- Transitional Day Care
- Transitional Medical Assistance
- Earned Income Tax Credit - (EITC) provides support for families that are making the transition from welfare to work. Workers who qualify for the EITC and file a federal tax return can receive a refund of some or all of their federal income tax. Because it is refundable, eligible families receive the full amount of the credit even if that amount is greater than the amount of taxes owed. Qualifying families with no tax liability receive the entire credit as a refund.
Community involvement, including community based and collaborative efforts can be a core strategy in designing and implementing effective welfare reform programs. By educating the local communities, using the local organizations, and by building an ongoing dialogue with community based organizations and other service providers, we can get them involved in local implementation of welfare reform. The goals of our community outreach are to:
- Improve NCDSS's relationship with other agencies that share our customers.
- Educate the community about our customers and the work the department performs.
- Create and foster a supportive work environment within the community.
As welfare and workforce systems become work-centered, employer involvement in welfare-to-work efforts is increasingly important. A critical component is to develop job opportunities for customers in both the public and private sectors. Utilizing Job Developers, the department works with businesses in the county to identify how using NCDSS customers and services can benefit them in a positive way. Businesses are encouraged to view us as a "first source" for recruiting employees. Among the benefits to businesses and employers are:
- No charge for the department's services
- Thoroughly screened candidates
- Motivated workers
- Support services to ensure high quality performance and job retention
- Quick response to job orders
- Federal and New York State tax incentives
Work Experience is a program designed to create a simulated work environment that provides job readiness skills to individuals receiving temporary assistance with the goal of increasing the individual's likelihood of moving into private or public sector employment.
Clients perform job related tasks at local nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, and government agencies for a specific number of hours each week derived from a New York State formula based on the size of a client's public assistance grant.
Child Care is provided not only to those on temporary assistance but also those working families who meet income guidelines for subsidies. Various kinds of child care are available throughout Nassau County.
In conjunction with Long Island Bus, funding is provided for working TANF individuals who are in need of transportation assistance to and from work.
We are developing programs in the areas of mentoring, on-site training, job readiness and job skills training, and motivational classes.
Prior to being referred to an activity, TANF recipients go through a series of assessments and employability planning with employment workers.
Single individuals who receive Public Assistance are eligible for services through Workforce Investment Act.