When a Nebraska SNAP food benefits applicant is approved for the government assistance program, he or she should learn more about the food items that can be purchased with benefits and the items that cannot. The food stamps benefits program restricts certain food items because the program is focused on keeping all beneficiaries healthy and well-nourished. The amount of SNAP benefits awarded to qualified applicants can vary based on certain household characteristics. The benefits for food stamps program in NE only awards benefit payments once the entire application process has been successfully completed, unless the applicant qualifies for expedited benefits. The EBT benefit card food stamp is the way that all benefits are awarded to approved beneficiaries and their only means to access the benefits. To learn more about SNAP program food benefits, the foods approved for purchase, benefit amount calculations and using the EBT card, review the following sections.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Nebraska
The NE SNAP benefit program is dedicated to providing low-income families in need of financial assistance with access to healthy and sustainable foods to nurture them and their family members. Beneficiaries who receive SNAP benefits in Nebraska are encouraged to purchase food items that can assist in the growth, development and continual well-being of all family members. While unhealthy foods like cookies, crackers and candy can still be purchased using SNAP food stamp benefits, beneficiaries should aim to purchase wholesome and healthier foods that fall into the following categories:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains and breads
- Dairy products
- Meats, poultry and fish
The food stamps benefit card can only be used to purchase SNAP-approved food items at qualifying retailers. Most grocery stores and supermarkets accept Nebraska SNAP benefits as payment for purchases, but beneficiaries should first locate qualifying retailers before shopping. Food stamp benefits may sometimes be used by beneficiaries for select Meals on Wheels services. Beneficiaries who are 60 years of age and older may be able to use benefits of the food stamps program for congregate meals.
Items You Cannot Buy With Nebraska SNAP Benefits
Since the Nebraska food stamps program is focused on the health and well-being of beneficiaries, there are items that cannot be purchased using benefits because they do not contribute to the nourishment or health of the family. NE SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items, including household products, toiletry items, cosmetics and pet supplies. SNAP food stamp benefits cannot be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco products because of their association with diseases and medical conditions. Vitamins, medicines, prescriptions, hot foods or foods meant to be consumed in-store cannot be purchased using a food stamps benefit card. SNAP food stamp benefits are not acceptable when attempting to purchase certain types of energy drinks or gift baskets that contain alcohol-related items.
How long does it take to receive Nebraska snap benefits after enrollment?
After a food stamps application is received by the Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska SNAP benefits will be issued to applicants who qualify for the program, within 30 days. It is possible for NE food stamp benefits to be distributed to an applicant within seven days if he or she qualifies for expedited benefits. A SNAP benefit card may be sent quickly to applicants who earn an extremely low income, have high household expenses and claim limited resources and assets on the application. A food stamp benefit applicant who qualifies for expedited benefits does not need to complete an in-person interview with a Department of Health and Human Services representative or present mandatory paperwork before receiving benefits. The benefits for food stamps program are sent first so the program applicant can begin using financial assistance as soon as possible. After receiving SNAP food stamp benefits, the beneficiary is still responsible for completing the additional application steps, including an interview and the presentation of required documentation at a later time.
Nebraska EBT Card Overview
NE SNAP food benefits are issued to qualified applicants through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The food stamps benefit card works like a debit card and can be used at any retailer that accepts EBT as payment. Each month, Nebraska food stamps benefits are automatically deposited into the beneficiary’s account, if he or she remains eligible for benefits. The EBT benefit card food stamp can be used to purchase acceptable food items through the retailer’s credit card machine. The amount of SNAP food stamps benefits used to purchase the items is deducted from the beneficiary’s account balance. If benefits for food stamps program are leftover at the end of the month, these additional benefits will roll over to the next month’s account balance, but may expire after a certain period. SNAP benefit card account balances can be checked by program beneficiaries once they have set up online accounts and personal identification numbers (PINs) associated with their EBT cards.
Learn About Nebraska SNAP Benefit Amounts
The Department of Health and Human Services calculates the amount of Nebraska food stamps benefits each approved program applicant is qualified to receive, and the amount will vary between beneficiaries. To calculate the amount of SNAP food stamp benefits for an applicant, the following characteristics are taken in consideration:
- Household monthly income and earnings
- Monthly expenses and bills
- Assets and resources
- Household members, including their ages and contributions
A Nebraska SNAP benefit applicant who claims a higher income and has lower expenses is awarded a less benefit amount than an applicant who earns a low income and incurs high monthly expenses. Additionally, NE SNAP food benefits are calculated higher for households that include additional young family members who cannot work and contribute to the household’s income but need to be provided healthy and nutritious meals. Food stamp program benefit amounts can also be higher for qualifying applicants who have fewer assets and resources, as reported on the application and confirmed by a Department of Health and Human Services representative. Any changes to the household, including a member moving out, new employment or a change in resources should be reported within 10 days of occurrence because it can affect the amount of SNAP program benefits the household receives.