Food assistance lawsuit vs DHHS gets class certification

***For Immediate Release***

April 1, 2015NE_Appleseed_Icons_Justice-128

Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289


Class Certification Approved for Lawsuit to Protect Nebraskans Eligible for Food Assistance

Suit claims Nebraska HHS unlawfully delayed food assistance beyond legal time frames


LINCOLN – Tuesday afternoon, a federal district court judge approved class certification in a lawsuit filed to protect Nebraskans eligible for food assistance from unlawful delays.


Nebraska Appleseed and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice filed the lawsuit (Leiting-Hall v. Winterer) in August 2014 on behalf of a working, single mother and a household of four who have been unlawfully delayed from receiving urgent and necessary help providing food for her family through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


The suit came as a result of continued delays by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in processing SNAP applications and delivering food assistance. HHS is supposed to process these applications within a certain timeframe — given the urgent need for quick administration of a program like SNAP — but has consistently failed to meet this most basic requirement of federal law.  These failures have forced thousands of Nebraska families to face hunger and inadequate food access.


“This class certification will ensure that every Nebraskan that has been and continues to be affected by these delays will be able to legally challenge the Department’s unlawful practices,” said Molly McCleery, Nebraska Appleseed staff attorney. “It also is an important step to recognize these delays are not a problem in only a few, isolated number of cases, but a widespread obstacle that leaves a significant number of Nebraska families unable to get necessary food assistance in a timely manner.”

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  2 Replies to “Food assistance lawsuit vs DHHS gets class certification”

  1. Carrie Smith
    04/01/2015 at 1:12 pm

    This has been an ongoing problem for a very long time. Delay is not the word. It seems as if they have a policy to take the application, require forms be sent back and when they are electronically submitted, they never receive them. Notices are not sent in a timely manner and then by the time applicants are notified, the time frame of 30 days expired and then they have to reapply. If the applicant is lucky enough to make a phone call and get through after waiting for 40 minutes they may get benefits but they have already lost the benefits for the previous 30 days. And then there are those that cannot wait the 40 minutes only to have the agency not receive the documents AGAIN. It is truly disgusting and I dont believe it is a glitch but rather the norm. I don’t understand how this can happen but I am so glad you are speaking up the families in this state that need help.

  2. Donna Hawkinson
    04/02/2015 at 4:55 pm

    A problem my daughter has had is that when it is time for her renewal, she does not receive notice until the 3rd of the month when her snap benefits are not there. This has happened the last two times, the snap office claims they sent papers out, but she has never received anything. She then has to get all the information in and loses at least a part of a month of benefits. We also have had trouble with them telling us they didn’t receive documentation. Hopefully that is something that your organization can look into also.

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