Federal pandemic aid still needed for struggling Nebraskans

Farm and Food

By Nathan Beacom, former staff member

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the Midwest hard, Nebraska stands apart as the only state in the union halting the emergency boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from the federal government, which allows recipients to receive the maximum benefit in food assistance.

Khalilah LeGrand, Nebraska Health and Human Services spokeswoman, argued that things are getting back to normal for workers and the assistance is no longer needed. Although unemployment is not as high as it was earlier in spring, it remains nearly double the rate measured in the beginning of the year. The economic stress of the pandemic continues to make finding work, and good-paying work, more difficult for many people.

It is good news that Nebraska’s unemployment rate has fallen, and that those who are now back to work will be less in need of assistance. For those many families who continue to struggle, however, this assistance can be a lifeline, allowing them to keep food on the table.

The effects of the pandemic are far from over, and, as long as that remains true, Nebraskans cannot be left in the lurch. The state should take advantage of this federal assistance to help everyone in our communities get through this difficult time together.