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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 7, 2008

CONTACT
Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9313
After-hours: cell: (402) 326-4277; home: (402) 423-0721

 

Response High to Apply for Omaha-area Food Stamp Assistance

Lincoln – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is asking people to be patient as they apply for Disaster Food Stamp Assistance in the Omaha area. Close to 1,500 people waited in long lines and applied for assistance Monday, July 7, the first day the application centers opened. The Disaster Food Stamp Assistance is available as a result of the June 27 storm that left thousands of people without electricity, some for many days.

"The response for assistance has been very high," said Todd Landry, Director of DHHS’ Division of Children and Family Services. "So we appreciate your patience as staff work to get the applications processed."

Because the need for assistance is so great, DHHS is opening an additional center to process Disaster Food Stamp Assistance applications at the Salvation Army gymnasium, 24 th and Pratt. The new center will be open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., starting Tuesday, July 8th. The following centers are also open to process Disaster Food Stamp Assistance applications: the DHHS Office at 12001 Q St.; Our Lady of Guadalupe Hall, 5005 S. 23 rd St. and the Family Resource Center, 3040 Lake St. All of these locations will be open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (The Paralyzed Veterans of America Office, open previously, had to close due to scheduling conflicts.) DHHS will continue to pursue additional options through discussions with federal agencies.

Disaster Food Stamp Assistance has special rules to follow and some income guidelines apply. For example, in order to get Disaster Food Stamp Assistance, you have to either live or work in one of the disaster-declared counties and you have to answer "yes" to at least one of the following questions:

  • Has your home or self-employment property been damaged or destroyed by the disaster?
  • Does your household have any other disaster-caused expenses?
  • Has your income been delayed, reduced or stopped because of the disaster?
  • Does your household have any cash or money in a bank account which you cannot get to because of the disaster?

Under this special disaster program, there is a limit of one month’s assistance. After that one month allotment, applicants wishing to continue food stamp benefits must apply for "regular" food stamps at their local DHHS office and meet the income and eligibility requirements for the regular food stamp program. Disaster Food Stamp Assistance applications will be audited after the event. People who receive benefits they are not entitled to will be required to pay them back.

Applicants must bring documents to prove their identities (e.g. driver’s license, wage stub, birth certificate) and where they live (e.g., rent or mortgage receipt, post office records, utility bills, driver’s license).

For more information about the Disaster Food Stamp Assistance for the Omaha area, contact DHHS at (402) 595-3400. Additional disaster information is also available on-line at www.dhhs.ne.gov. Look under Hot Topics for " Resources for Coping with Tornadoes and Severe Storms."

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