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More Nebraskans Can Access Food Assistance Despite Governor Veto

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Monday, June 28, 2021   

OMAHA, Neb. - More Nebraskans will be eligible for SNAP, the program formerly known as food stamps, beginning July 11.

Tiffany Joekel, research and policy director with the Women's Fund of Omaha, said that means more Nebraska families still struggling from the economic fallout of the pandemic will be able to put food on the table.

She added that getting more Nebraskans enrolled in SNAP also can help boost economic recovery across the state. Every federal tax dollar returning to Nebraska in SNAP benefits generates up to $1.80 in economic impact.

"It brings our tax dollars back to our state and back to our communities and invests them in our families," said Joekel. "It supports the local grocery store, it provides wages to the workers at the grocery store, which then circulates and ripples out through the entire community."

Lawmakers voted to override Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of LB 108, the law expanding SNAP eligibility. Critics claimed it would discourage people from returning to work, but Joekel said people who can now participate in SNAP under the new law already are working.

Enrollment info is available online at accessnebraska.ne.gov, and Food Bank of the Heartland can help people navigate the enrollment process by phone at (855) 444-5556.

Joekel noted that the state's business community, including the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supported expanding SNAP eligibility in part because the measure aimed to help working families who struggled to make ends meet even before the pandemic.

"Food insecurity is not new," said Joekel. "We have a lot of working families in Nebraska who are doing the best they can, but the math simply doesn't work. Their wages simply do not allow them to afford all of the things that they need."

The new law also aims to eliminate the so-called cliff effect, where workers who get promotions and small pay increases end up losing hundreds of dollars in food assistance.

Families can now continue to receive help even if their income rises, because agencies can now consider expenses including child care that make it harder to purchase food.





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