LYONS, NEBRASKA – The Center for Rural Affairs commends the Nebraska Legislature for its approval of a bill to temporarily expand gross income eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a move that incentivizes Nebraskans to work.
Legislative Bill (LB) 108, which was approved 33-11 on final reading Thursday, addresses what is known as the “cliff effect” by increasing the eligibility threshold to 165% of the federal poverty line. This will allow beneficiaries to accept promotions and wage increases through their employer without fear they would lose all assistance before they make enough money to replace the benefit.
“The strong support this bill received from rural senators is a key indicator, demonstrating how the problem has grown to affect Nebraskans in every corner of the state,” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center. “This is not a partisan issue or urban-rural issue. Today our state needs workers, and now is the time to remove impediments to career advancement and wage growth.”
With a potential veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts, Hladik urges senators to stick by their decisions and override the veto if the opportunity arises.
“Jobs need to be filled, and every instance of an employee being disincentivized to advance in the workplace is an impediment that needs to be removed,” he said. “LB 108 encourages stable employment. When a family earns more, that’s good for the whole economy.”
Additional administrative costs resulting from the changes will be funded through the American Rescue Plan. The increase will expire when the bill sunsets on Sept. 30, 2023. As part of the legislation, beneficiaries will be encouraged to participate in the SNAP Next Step program, if available in their county.
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