Tag: Public Benefits

STATEMENT: Proposed SNAP rule would cut benefits for 3.1 million Americans

Proposed SNAP rule would cut benefits for 3.1 million Americans Food assistance helps reduce food instability and contributes to a healthy Nebraska   Lincoln, NE – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a regulatory change that will harm 3.1 million people, including working families with children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The proposed rule would dramatically alter… Read more →

Education under ADC is a proven success

Education is the clearest pathway out of poverty. And in Nebraska, we have emphasized the importance of education in our Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program. ADC is Nebraska’s cash assistance program for low-income families with children. Most people who participate in the ADC program must engage in a work activity every week. Under Nebraska’s ADC program, participants can choose… Read more →

New Aid to Dependent Children changes go into effect today

This June, the Nebraska Legislature increased the payment rate for Nebraska’s Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program for the first time in nearly 30 years by passing LB 607. ADC is the state’s welfare-to-work program that includes cash assistance and employment activities for low-income families with children. This increased payment rate goes into effect today, and Appleseed has created this… Read more →

2015 Nebraska Legislature Wrap-Up

The Nebraska Legislature closed their 2015 session last week, and what a remarkable session it was. Many of Appleseed’s priority bills became law, yet important work remains to address several issues next year. Here’s a look back at the 2015 session.   DREAMers driver’s license bill passes on veto override vote LB 623 – This bill, which makes Nebraska the… Read more →

RELEASE – Final passage of bills will help DREAMers, foster youth, and working families

***For Immediate Release*** May 21, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed praises Legislative votes on Final Reading Friday Bills passing final vote will improve lives of Nebraska DREAMers, children, and working families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed issued the following statements on bills that were passed on… Read more →

Legislative Update – May 11, 2015

With only 13 days left in the 2015 Nebraska Legislative session, time is winding down. Here’s your weekly Legislative Update.   Compromise reached on bill to increase aid to working families It appears Nebraska’s poorest working families may get a measure of help via a compromise announced May 5 to slightly increase payments in the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC)… Read more →

RELEASE – Appleseed praises passage of LB 89

***For Immediate Release*** April 23, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org     Appleseed Statement on passage of LB 89 Legislature’s vote will strengthen Nebraska’s working families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in support of the Legislature’s vote to pass LB… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 13

Last week was a great example of the ups and downs of our work in the Nebraska Legislature.   Medicaid Redesign Act voted down On April 8, the Legislature heard debate on LB 472 – the Medicaid Redesign Act. This important bill would have closed the coverage gap that currently leaves more than 70,000 Nebraskans without access to health coverage.… Read more →

Legislative Update – March 30

Nebraska Appleseed’s Legislative Update News and Updates from the Nebraska Unicameral March 30, 2015   Last week marked the first week of full-day debate in the Legislature, and one of Appleseed’s priority bills is on the agenda for this week.   Child care “cliff effect” bill set for debate this week LB 81 – This bill introduced by Sen. Tanya… Read more →

Appleseed statement on working families support bill LB 89

***For Immediate Release*** February 6, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Nebraska Appleseed statement on LB 89 heard by HHS Committee Friday Bill would help Nebraska families to stay together while rewarding hard work   Friday, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement in support of… Read more →

Appleseed statement on Governor’s 2015 State of the State Address

LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State Address. “We couldn’t agree more with Governor Ricketts when he said Nebraska’s greatest resource is our people, and we echo his spirit of collaboration that we can make a stronger, better state when we work together,” Gould said.… Read more →

Being Poor is Getting Scarier in the U.S.

New research by two California economists recently highlighted that the United States is doing significantly worse now to protect low-income families from falling into deep poverty than in previous recessions. The research, cited in a new story from Bloomberg View, “Being Poor Is Getting Scarier in the U.S.,” shows the most recent recession that began in 2008 increased the number… Read more →

RELEASE – New report offers recommendations for family and workforce stability

For Immediate Release Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed report offers solutions to increase stability for families and workforce Despite high workforce participation, many Nebraska families struggle to meet basic needs LINCOLN — Strong, productive workers and families are the backbone of Nebraska’s communities and our economy. Unfortunately, many… Read more →

GoodHire program to help Nebraskans get meaningful work experience

Appleseed very enthusiastically supported a bill during the 2013 Nebraska Legislature session that created a pilot program to encourage Nebraska businesses to hire new employees and grow the state’s economy through wage subsidies. The bill, LB 368, introduced by State Senator Sue Crawford, was a win-win both for businesses looking to grow and hard-working Nebraskans who needed a chance to… Read more →

RELEASE – Lawsuit alleges Nebraska DHHS unlawfully delaying food assistance

***For Immediate Release*** Contact, Jeff Sheldon Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Class-Action Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Nebraskans Eligible for Food Assistance Suit claims Nebraska DHHS unlawfully delays SNAP beyond legal time frames LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of… Read more →

Farmers’ markets a new option for nutritious, local food for low-income families

In Nebraska, 14 farmers’ markets now accept payment in the form of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (formerly called ‘food stamps’).  This increases low-income families’ access to fresh produce, locally-sourced dairy products, and even seeds and plants that produce food. This option also benefits local farmers, because the equipment needed to process SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards also allows… Read more →

Documentary “American Winter” shows strain poverty puts on U.S. families

The true face of poverty and its damaging effects on real American families is on display in the eye-opening documentary “American Winter,” which tells the stories of several families in the Portland, Oregon, area as they deal with job losses, mounting bills, losing their homes, and the toll these challenges can take on a family. A synopsis from the film’s… Read more →

Appleseed intake line a resource to help Nebraskans overcome barriers

With support from the Omaha Community Foundation, Appleseed provides an Intake and Information telephone line to assist low-income community members with concerns related to our areas of expertise.  While we do not usually provide legal representation to the people who contact us, we help give callers the information and resources they need to successfully resolve their issues. We recently surveyed… Read more →

“Valiant Voices” exhibit shows true stories of poverty and perseverance in Omaha

Since May, Appleseed has been partnering with Heart Ministry Center and a group of Omaha women who are fighting to break the cycle of generational poverty.  A grant from the Women’s Fund of Omaha allowed us to provide these women with digital cameras to document the challenges they face on a daily basis. The result is a moving and enlightening… Read more →

“Valiant Voices: Portraits of Strength” opens tonight in Omaha

Tonight, you’re invited for a first look at the new exhibit “Valiant Voices: Portraits of Strength” at the First Friday art walk in Omaha’s historic Benson neighborhood. “Valiant Voices” is a special photo project that cuts through the clutter and stereotypes of what you think you might know about what it means to live an everyday struggle with poverty. This… Read more →

Government shutdown could have consequences for Nebraska families with low incomes

As you likely know by now, Congress has not been able to come to an agreement to continue to fund many activities and programs.  That means on Tuesday, the federal government was shut down. Although many public benefits programs will be able to keep operating because they currently are able to access funding from the prior year, an extended shutdown… Read more →

Take Action! Protect SNAP for Nebraska children and families!

SNAP is at risk – We need your help! No Nebraskan should go hungry.  However, nearly 14 percent of Nebraskans were food insecure in 2012. This means about 250,000 people in our state struggled to get enough to eat, including 80,000 children who received SNAP benefits. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a vital support to these Nebraskans who… Read more →

Appleseed 2012 Year in Review – Expanding Opportunities for Nebraska’s Low-Income Families

This is part of a series looking back on Nebraska Appleseed’s work in 2012. Protecting right to treatment for young children with developmental disabilities In May, Nebraska Appleseed filed a lawsuit on behalf of two children with developmental disabilities who were denied Medicaid coverage of medical treatments despite the treatments being deemed medically necessary by their doctors. Read the petition… Read more →

Choosing Education

At a time when the highest-paying occupations and fastest-growing fields in Nebraska all require some type of academic credential or training, job-seeking adults with limited educational backgrounds are often at a disadvantage. Fortunately, parents in the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program have the right to take part in meaningful work activities that help them reach their goals – including… Read more →

We Are Still Fighting the War on Poverty

Milo Mumgaard is the founder and former Executive Director of Nebraska Appleseed. Peter Edelman recently wrote an on-point opinion piece in The New York Times on the challenge of ending poverty. This article is sobering stuff with the release of the annual poverty figures coming out next month, which will show the highest percentage of Americans living in poverty since… Read more →

ACCESS Nebraska Update

Nebraska Appleseed has been watching carefully the implementation of ACCESS Nebraska, our state’s new way of managing public assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Some of you may be wondering: how is it going? This article from the Omaha World Herald provides an update on ACCESS Nebraska from multiple perspectives: “Nebraska’s Food Stamp Errors Carry High Cost” In summary,… Read more →

Nebraskans Increasingly Experiencing Food Hardship

Nearly one in five Americans and one in seven Nebraskans had difficulty affording food in the last year according to a report, “Food Hardship in America 2011,” released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “It’s concerning that food hardship continues to increase in our state, as does participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Free and… Read more →

LB 1063 Aims to Fill Medicaid Gaps & Help Parents Keep Their Kids

The state’s child welfare system is in great need of reform. A vital piece of ensuring reform is effective is to prevent children from entering the system unnecessarily. LB 1063 is intended to address gaps in Medicaid services for children, which needlessly push children into the system to obtain the mental health services they need. Indeed, LB 1063 makes certain the Medicaid program plays its… Read more →

Appleseed at the Legislature

The 2012 Legislative session is off to a fast and furious start.  We are already a third of the way through this short (60 day) session and Nebraska Appleseed is working on more bills than ever before.  We’d like to highlight some of the key issues we are working on in our programs and give you an opportunity to get… Read more →

Improve Service Delivery and Efficiency in the Department of Health & Human Services

On February 1, the Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on LB 1041 and LB 1016. Both of these bills are intended to address problems with the ACCESS Nebraska system. Appleseed supports both of these bills. LB 1041 would streamline HHS systems to make them more efficient and effective for everyone. LB 1016 would provide resources to community… Read more →

Help Children Access the Food They Need to Learn & Grow

LB 1090 will help children access the food they need in the summertime to learn and grow.  Providing access to healthy, nutritious foods is important for children’s health.  The Summer Food Service Program provides federally funded meals to sites at nonprofit organizations, schools, and other locations to reach hungry children in the summer when free and reduced price meals are… Read more →

HHS Budget Should Invest in Children and Families

On Monday, Nebraska Appleseed’s Executive Director testified at the Appropriations Committee in response to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services’ appropriation request.  Appleseed believes that DHHS’s budget must invest in and protect low-income children and families’ needs. [DDET Appleseed Testimony] Senator Lavon Heidemann Chair, Appropriations Committee State Capitol, Room 1004 Lincoln, NE 68509 Re: Agency 25, Department of… Read more →

Waiting for Midnight

“Waiting for Midnight” has nothing to do with Cinderella.  Instead, NBC’s Rock Center recently drew attention to a different kind of “mad dash.”  Hungry families across America are waiting for midnight at the first of the month when funds under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) become available. With our country’s current economic woes, more… Read more →

It’s That Time of Year…

The holidays are a time of year when our thoughts turn to people who are struggling in our communities.  It’s a time of year when we are not only thinking of the needs of our friends and neighbors, but also of the reasons behind their difficulties, and hoping for a year ahead with new possibilities and opportunities for family success.… Read more →

Five Facts You Should Know about the U.S. Census Bureau Poverty Data

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data about the economic well-being of our nation and our state.  Here are five facts you should know about poverty in Nebraska: More than one in five children (18.2%) in Nebraska experienced poverty in 2010.  This is 3% higher than 2009. Minorities in Nebraska experience poverty at a disproportionate rate compared to… Read more →

Public Assistance Programs DO Matter for Kids and Families

We all know that a lower income means more struggles for families. Families with greater economic resources are not only able to better provide important inputs into their children’s development such as nutritious meals, safe neighborhoods, and higher-quality educations, but higher incomes have also been shown to improve parent’s psychological well-being and parental interactions with children. However, public perceptions remain… Read more →

Organizations Urge a Balanced, Values Based Approach in Federal Budget Negotiations

Nebraska Appleseed joined organizations from across the state Tuesday to urge the President and Nebraska’s federal representatives in Washington to develop a budget that reflects Nebraska values. In a Statement of Principles, Nebraska organizations called on the President and Congress to address the federal deficit while also protecting vulnerable Americans and economic security. It is important that we are speaking… Read more →

The Federal Budget Debate: Nebraska Appleseed’s Perspective

Important discussions have been happening this summer as members of Congress debate how to balance the federal budget and address the national deficit. Many of the deficit reduction proposals would severely affect Nebraska’s most vulnerable populations and have a negative impact on our state’s economy. Several proposals being considered would reduce the deficit by implementing deep spending cuts in public… Read more →

Legislative Bill 465 and Lawful Permanent Residents

In April 2011, the Legislature passed LB 465. This new law changes eligibility for some public benefit programs for certain lawful permanent residents. A lawful permanent resident (LPR) is an immigrant with a green card, who is legally admitted to the U.S. to live and work on a permanent basis. Below is a Q&A to help you understand who is… Read more →

A New Month, A Small Reminder

It’s a new month: October. Fall is officially here bringing with it crisp cool weather and Halloween. But for many Nebraska families, the turn of the calendar page means much more. Public benefits programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) and Aid to Dependent Children (cash welfare) “kick in” at midnight on the first day of… Read more →

To Serve or Save? How About Both?

Last week Appleseed testified on a major shift in Nebraska’s Medicaid program. The state is moving to a “full-risk” managed care program in ten counties contiguous to Omaha and Lincoln on August 1. For over a year Appleseed has been expressing serious reservations about this change. (You can read our testimony here) The fundamental orientation of full-risk managed care is… Read more →

Economic Independence and Access to Health Care Go Hand-in-Hand

For many years, Nebraska Appleseed has worked to protect access to health care for low-income families in our state. We continued to strive towards this goal recently in the Nebraska Supreme Court, by representing a class of over 400 low-income families that had lost Medicaid health care coverage. In the case of Davio v. Nebraska Department of Health and Human… Read more →

Healthy Babies or Politics?

Monday, March 1st was not a good day for Nebraska.  On Monday, over 1,500 women and their unborn children lost their access to prenatal care.  For decades Nebraska has been a state that prioritized the health of the mothers and babies in this state.  On Monday, the Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services decided that wasn’t important… Read more →

A Bumpy Ride

Increasingly, the economic downturn is leading Americans, and Nebraskans, to access public benefits programs such as Child Care Assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  In fact, the New York Times ran a recent story about “the new poor” entitled “Millions of Unemployed Face Years without Jobs”.  The story chronicles the experiences of folks who never imagined they would… Read more →

Equal ACCESS

Nebraska Appleseed has used the tag line “Core Values, Common Ground, Equal Justice” for a long time.  We look to these central principles in a variety of ways about a variety of issues. Last Thursday, our own Becky Gould testified regarding ACCESS Nebraska – our state’s on-line application system for public benefits programs.  And, in many ways, the Nebraska Appleseed… Read more →

The Floor Is Yours

Last week I attended a town hall meeting hosted by the State Senators representing Lincoln and Lancaster County about the current budget shortfall and the upcoming special session of the State Legislature to address the gap. I was genuinely touched by the number of Nebraskans speaking out on behalf of low income families.  Person after person stood up to speak… Read more →

How Can Nebraska Come Out Ahead In The Economic Recovery?

Brain drain, a high proportion of low-wage jobs, and the current economic downturn all negatively impact the well-being of Nebraska’s families, communities, and economy. At the same time, our workforce is one of the most dedicated in the nation and, in spite of recent increases, our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation. So what do we… Read more →

Immigrants and Public Benefits in Nebraska: An Update on Implementation of LB 403

In the past few months you might have heard about Legislative Bill 403 (LB 403), which went into effect on October 1, 2009. LB 403 was passed by the Nebraska Unicameral in March, 2009. LB 403 has two distinct parts. First, LB 403 requires state agencies and political subdivisions to verify the lawful presence of applicants for “public benefits.” Second,… Read more →