Nebraska Appleseed

Founded in 1996, Nebraska Appleseed is a nonprofit organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. With expertise in addressing systemic problems and opportunities affecting thousands of people, we incorporate legal advocacy, community activism, and policy expertise to make a positive, sustainable difference in our four main areas of concentration – health care access, poverty, child welfare, and immigration. We take our work wherever we believe we can do the most good, whether that’s at the courthouse, in the statehouse or in the community. For more information about our programs and successes, please visit www.neappleseed.org.

THE CASE: On August 1, 2014, the case of Leiting-Hall v. Winterer commenced. Nebraska Appleseed filed this class-action lawsuit on behalf of two clients (a working, single mother and a three-person family) who have been unlawfully delayed from receiving urgent and necessary help providing food for their families though the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), seeking to represent a class of hundreds of households that receive SNAP.

The suit is against Kerry Winterer, the CEO of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Thomas Pristow, the Director of the DHHS Division of Children and Families. Winterer and Pristow are responsible for administering SNAP in Nebraska. Throughout the state, the SNAP program helps about 175,000 Nebraskans know where their next meal is coming from. Nearly 75 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

Unfortunately, DHHS has systematically failed to follow federal and state rules which require SNAP to be provided to eligible households within set timeframes. Following these timeframes is vital, because the failure to do so means that hundreds of SNAP households do not receive assistance to purchase food when they need it. The suit seeks to enforce federal timeliness requirements in order to ensure these low-income Nebraska households are able to access SNAP in a timely way.

Contact: Mindy Bilderback, Grant Coordinator, 941 O St #920, Lincoln, NE 68508