***For Immediate Release***
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
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.”