The food stamp program in Nebraska is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The program helps low-income individuals and families buy food at authorized locations. To apply for food stamps in Nebraska, you have to meet the eligibility requirements established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In this post, we will walk you through what you need to know to successfully apply for food assistance. We will review the step-by-step application process, which includes the income limit, resource requirement, citizenship and residency criteria, and how much you will receive in food stamps if approved for benefits.
This post will cover:
Overview of the Food Stamps Program
How Much You Could Receive In Food Stamps
Nebraska Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Nebraska
What Happens After You Apply
About Food Stamps Program
The SNAP Benefits program, also known as food stamps offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible individuals and families.
The program is aimed at those who work for low wages, have low income or no income. You may not be denied food stamps benefits solely because you were denied from other state of federal programs.
The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The states are responsible for distributing benefits at the local level.
The food stamps program is the largest economic assistance program offered by the federal government to fight hunger and provide nutrition assistance.
In 2016, the government spent $70.9 billion on the program, helping roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population).
Who Can Apply for Food Stamps
The food stamps program was created to help stop hunger and to improve nutrition and health of those on low income.
The program helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health. This includes individuals who:
- Have a job but have low income
- Are living on a small or fixed income
- Have lost their job
- Are retired or disabled and not able to work
How Much In Food Stamps Will I Receive?
The amount of food stamps benefits you will receive if approved is based on your household size and countable income after all deductions are applied.
Keep in mind that households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration.
The table below shows the maximum amount you could receive depending on the number of people in your household.
What Can I Buy with Food Stamps?
There are strict requirements about what you can and cannot purchase with food stamps.
Generally, food stamps benefits may only be used to purchase food for human consumption and seeds/plants to grow food at home.
Food Stamp benefits cannot be used for: household items, grooming products, tobacco, alcohol products, pet food, etc. Here are the allowed food items:
You can use your benefits to buy foods such as:
- Breads and cereals.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Meats, fish, and poultry.
- Dairy products.
- Seeds and plants to grow food for your family to eat.
You cannot use your benefits to buy:
- Non Food items (pet foods, paper products, soaps,
- household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.).
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco.
- Food that will be eaten in the store.
- Hot foods (food cooked and served hot at the store).
- Vitamins and medicines.
Nebraska Food Stamps Program
The food stamps program in Nebraska is run by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
You do not have to be receiving other public assistance in order to be eligible for food stamps.
However, people don’t receive food stamps automatically. You have to apply and be found eligible.
We are going to describe in detail what you need to successfully apply for food stamps in Nebraska.
Nebraska Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements
To apply for food stamps in Nebraska, you have to meet the eligibility requirements listed below.
Of all the requirements, the income limit is the biggest factor that determines whether you are approved for benefits.
Make sure you review the income limit to be sure you are eligible before applying. If you determine that you are not eligible, there may be other nutrition assistance program you may be eligible for.
To apply for food stamps in Nebraska, you must be a resident of the state of Nebraska.
Only United States Citizens and certain categories of lawfully admitted non-citizens can apply for food stamps. See our detailed article on the topic here.
If your income (based on your family size) is less than or equal to the amounts in the charts below, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits.
Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made such as taxes or other withholdings.
Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.
- If your household’s gross income is below these amounts, it does not ensure that you will be eligible for a benefit.
- A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine eligibility and benefit amount.
- The only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to apply.
For a detailed post on how to calculate your gross and net income, and documents you will be required to resent to support your food stamps application, click here.
What Counts As Income?
Cash income from all sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support are all counted towards your income for food stamps purposes.
Households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration, including higher asset limit, are exempted from the gross income test, and are allowed and more excess shelter/utility cost deduction, and medical expenses over $35 per month.
Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.
What Counts as Resources?
Resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts.
Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count.
How to Apply for Food Stamps In Nebraska
There are four ways in which you can apply for food stamps in Nebraska:
1. Apply Online
You can apply for food stamps in Nebraska online at the ACCESSNebraska website as shown above. Click here for help with ACCESSNebraska login.
2. Apply Over the Phone
Lincoln: (402) 323-3900, Omaha: (402) 595-1258. 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday
3. Print Out the Application and Mail/Fax it In.
4. Apply in Person
You can also apply in person at a local DHHS Office. To find a location near you, click here.
Documents You Need to Apply
Here are the documents you will need to apply for food stamps in Nebraska:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of State Residency
- Proof of Income
- Proof of Expenses
- Proof of Disability (if Applicable).
- Proof of Alien or Citizenship Status
For proof of citizenship, you will need to present one of the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Military service records
- US Passport
- Naturalization Certificate
- Permanent resident card/Green card
What Happens After You Apply
After you apply for food stamps in Nebraska, you must complete an interview with a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
You will have to attend a face-to-face interview. During the interview, and you will be required to provide verification of your income and expenses.
If you are elderly or physically unable to travel to the DHHS office for the interview, you can apply for a waiver, which is granted on a case by case basis based on hardship.
If your waiver request is granted, the face-to-face interview will be replaced with a phone interview.
If your application is approved, you will start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submit your application.
Do You Need Benefits Sooner?
With identification, you may get emergency food stamp benefits within 7 calendar days if you meet one of the following criteria:
- you have less than $150 in monthly gross income and no more than $100 in liquid resources;
- you have shelter costs that are higher than your gross income and liquid resources; or
- you are a migrant or seasonal farm worker who is destitute.
How will I Receive Benefits?
If you are approved for Nebraska food stamps, your monthly benefit will be deposited monthly on an electronic benefits card (EBT Card).
The Nebraska EBT Card shows the State Capitol’s Sower statue outlined against a blue sky as shown above.
The EBT Card is a plastic debit card with your name and card number. You can use your card to purchase groceries at stores that accept food stamps.
How Long Can I Be on Food Stamps?
There are no limits to how long you can get food stamps if you have children/dependents living in your household or are under age 18 or over age 50.
However, If you are a single, able-bodied adult without dependents in your home, you can only receive food stamps for 3 months in a 36-month period.
Nebraska Food Stamps Work Requirements
To be eligible for food stamps in Nebraska, able-bodied adults without dependents must meet the work requirement outlined below:
With some exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 must register for work, take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred, and accept or continue suitable employment.
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the program.
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If you meet the eligibility for food stamps in Nebraska, you can start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submitted your application to the Department of Human Services.
Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents must meet the work requirements to receive benefits unless exempted.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing you the information you need to apply for food stamps in Nebraska.
If you have any specific questions about the application process that have not been addressed in this post or if you would like to share your experience applying for food stamps in Nebraska please let us know in the comments section below.