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 STATUTORY REQUIREMENT AND PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Chapter 68 of the Nebraska Statutes requires counties to provide for the poor of the county who are not eligible for any other governmental assistance and do not have a parent, stepparent, or spouse responsible for their support. These statutory requirements are the basis for the programs administered by the Department of General Assistance, which are considered to be “programs of last resort.” A description of each program can be obtained by clicking on the link on the left side of this web page.

NEED TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT? HAVE QUESTIONS?

CALL OUR INTAKE AND REFERRAL LINE AT (402) 444-6215

 

DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE

1111 S. 41st St. STE 220, Omaha NE 68105

Phone: 402-444-6215 Fax: 402-444-6332

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE NETWORK CLINIC

4102 Woolworth Ave, Omaha NE 68105

Phone: 402-444-7540 Fax: 402-444-4541

 

This website has been updated with the 2018 Guidelines effective January 1, 2018.
2016 Guidelines are available to view under the Guidelines link on the left menu.

 

 

NOTICES

 DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE: BIENNIAL GUIDELINE REVIEW

PROPOSED REVISIONS FOR 2020 GUIDELINES

As we prepare for the State mandated biennial review of Douglas County programs administered by the Department of General Assistance, we invite you to offer any comments or recommendations for consideration.  Comments can be received via email, phone or in person at any of our Public Hearings.  If you are unable to attend but would like to comment, please email your comments to Department Director Melissa Sewick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone your comments (or questions) to her at 402.444.7230 or to the Administrative Support Specialist Jackie Neighbors at 402.444.4779, or fax or mail your comments to the contact information shown above.  During the review process, the current Guidelines and eventually the drafted version of the 2020-2021 Guidelines, will be available through the Department website, www.co.douglas.ne.us/county/generalasst/ and also on display during business hours at the following locations: 

  • Department of General Assistance Primary Health Care Clinic, 4102 Woolworth Avenue,
  • Douglas County Board of Commissioners, LC2 Civic Center, 1819 Farnam Street,
  • Douglas County Sheriff, 3601 N. 156th Street,
  • City Clerk of Bennington, 15514 Warehouse St. Bennington, NE,
  • City Clerk of the Village of Waterloo, 509 S. Front St., Waterloo, NE,
  • City Clerk of Valley, 203 N. Spruce St., Valley, NE,
  • All Omaha Public Library locations.

Below you will find the topics that have been discussed during the Douglas County Department of General Assistance Biennial Guideline Review process.  We have included the current language regarding the particular guideline, then the proposed revision.  Two Public Forums were held at our department on September 23rd, 2019 and the Public Hearing was opened on October 1, 2019.  Another Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, November 26th at 9a.m. at the County Board of Commissioners Meeting, Legislative Chambers, and Omaha-Douglas Civic Center.  A current copy of the Guidelines are at each of the public libraries, the Sheriff's office, DC Primary Health Care Clinic, the Commissioner's office, City Clerk offices of Waterloo, Bennington and Valley for public review.  Once approved, the Guidelines will go into effect January 1, 2020.  Proposed changes are as follows:

 

RENT

Current Language:

Dwelling Unit/Shelter Definitions:  Payment Schedule

1)Residential Unit - For General Assistance purposes, a residential unit is defined as a self- contained dwelling unit which has a separate secure entrance, separate cooking and food storage facilities and a separate bathroom.  Additionally, there must be a sink large enough to accommodate dish washing. A residential unit may be rented to related or unrelated individuals.  Total residential unit rent is one rate for the self-contained dwelling unit.  The maximum shelter allowance is $500.00 for an applicant/recipient or married couple.

2) Boarding/Rooming House - For General Assistance purposes, a dwelling unit in which the applicant(s)/recipient(s) has/have a sleeping room and must share as common areas a minimum of  one of the following: entrance, cooking and food storage facilities and/or bathroom facilities.  Total dwelling unit rent is not one rate for the premises, as in a residential unit, but is a “sleeping room” rate.  This includes a Boarding/Rooming House as defined in Nebraska Revised Statutes 41-204 and 41-205 (as amended).  The maximum shelter allowance shall be $300.00 for an applicant/recipient or a married couple

.3)Shared Living - For General Assistance purposes, “shared living” is defined as a living  arrangement in which the applicant/recipient or married couple shares a residential unit as defined above, with the property owner.  The maximum shelter allowance shall be $250.00 for an applicant/recipient or a married couple.

Proposed Change:

Increase monthly rent for a Residential Unit by $100, increasing it to $600

Increase monthly rent for a Shared Living Unit by $50, increasing it to $300

 

CLOTHING VOUCHER

Current Language:

Clothing: The caseworker may authorize a clothing purchase not to exceed $75 per person, every six (6) calendar months, provided that: 1) the clothing is essential for health and safety; and 2) the recipient has been referred to a public and/or private organization for clothing, and it has been verified that appropriate donated clothing is not available in the community; and, 3) the recipient has not been authorized for a General Assistance clothing allowance within the last six months. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the Director of the Department of General Assistance or designee.

Proposed Change:  

Increase the clothing voucher amount to a maximum benefit of $80 every 6 months. 

 

EXEMPT INCOME

Current Language:

Exempt Income: The following income shall be disregarded when determining the amount of assistance which the client is eligible to receive:

a) stipends received through a county approved job training program. Such disregard shall be granted for an initial period of three (3) months beginning with the month in which the first payment is received. If after consultation with the program representative, it is determined that the applicant/recipient requires additional time to complete his/her training program, the disregard may be extended for an additional three (3) months. In no event may the disregard be allowed for a period in excess of six (6) months.

b) job training program stipends defined as exempt income by the federal government.

c) the balance of a Pell Grant remaining after deductions for tuition, fees and books have been determined by the educational institution. The balance of these funds is to be used in lieu of transportation, non-food allotment and clothing for the number of months equal to the academic period for which the Pell Grant was awarded.

d) One hundred (100) percent of a newly employed recipient’s gross earned income may be disregarded for a period not to exceed three (3) consecutive months of full pay, provided that the recipient has been employed less than fulltime and has received shelter or medical assistance during any of the three (3) most recent months.

e) revenue from Indian Lease Land.

f) energy assistance stipends/grants, provided that the stipend/grant is used to meet the applicant’s/recipient’s energy needs.

 g)basic phone service for one phone number including basic internet services, taxes and mandated fees and excluding charges for long distance and optional features; with the exception of any optional features certified by a healthcare provider to be medically necessary;

h) security deposits for shelter and/or utilities paid on behalf of the client

i) Payments made by a third party(ies) that have been determined to be a contribution as defined in 1:028.

Proposed Change:  

Throughout the years we have received feedback from clients, community agencies, and staff requesting the clients be permitted a small monthly income that will not count against their potential benefit.  Ideally, this income would be used to help cover the costs of items we do not assist with or cannot meet their entire need (e.g. laundry, food, hygiene, etc.).  Currently, any income the client would disclose and/or we can verify, would be counted dollar for dollar against the rent/utility assistance we could authorize.  We are recommending adding the following language to exempt income:

j) $100 earned/unearned income per month

 

FRAUD

Current Language:

Recovery of Overpayments: In the event that a person receives General Assistance benefits through fraud or misrepresentation, the Department shall notify the individual in writing to repay the amount of the overpayment within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of notification or contact the Department to arrange a repayment plan. If the benefit amount that was fraudulently obtained exceeds $1,500.00 and full restitution has not been made within thirty (30) calendar days of the notification, the Director will refer the matter to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for investigation and subsequent prosecution. If the amount owed is less than $1,500, the Director will determine whether to refer the matter to the Sheriff’s Office or arrange a suitable payment plan with the individual

Proposed Change:  

Refer overpayments that are over $5,000 (Felony IV) to the Sheriff’s Office and/or County Attorney’s Office.

 

CREMATION ASSISTANCE

Current Language:

Chapter 6: Cremation Assistance-Section 6:111, stipulate that the rates paid for all of the services provided through crematories and mortuaries be adjusted every two years. The activity in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Midwest Urban, is the basis for determining the fee schedule.

Current Guidelines Maximum Benefit: $1050

Proposed Change:

Previously, the Cremation Fee Schedule was updated every two years effective October 1 of that given year.  We are proposing the fee schedule follows the same schedule as the biennial Guideline Review and will be effective January 1 of the following year.  Additionally, effective October 1, 2019 the maximum payment was $1,088.

 

GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUNS

Throughout our Guidelines we will revise all pronouns to ensure they are gender neutral.

 

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