Lower income parents in Nebraska can receive financial assistance for paying their child care in the form of government subsidies and grants. The resources depend on federal government funds and the program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Any type of state assistance is only offered to those who meet income limits and other conditions. Applicants need to be employed or attending school or job training sessions. Those activities also need to be occurring usually more than 20 hours per week. Both parents need to participate if applicable.
If someone is employed and applies, their job will need to have the potential to allow the family to become economically self-sufficient over the short term. In other words, this program is not for those people in which the total cost of their child care is more than they earn, as this is not a sustainable solution.
Reimbursement may be offered for those that are enrolled in vocational or educational training. Parents can receive help if they are trying to attain a high school diploma or GED. Or they can be in school for an undergraduate degree or certificate such as English as a second language. Any type of training or education will need to result in the parent becoming employed and self sufficient over the mid to long term. Child care is not allowed in Nebraska for those pursuing a second undergraduate degree or any post-graduate degrees. Child care assistance is also not authorized for independent study or correspondence courses.
If you are seeking employment in Nebraska, your social worker may ask the parent to provide a record of the dates and places that they looked for a job. So keep documentation. Any aid provided is usually for a shorter period of time as well.
Nebraska may distribute subsidies in some other instances as well. Parents that are attending medical or other counseling appointments for yourself or another child may enroll. Or if the parent is unable to take care of the child due to some form of disability or medical condition (incapacitated) then they can explore this subsidy program.
Your gross income will need to be taken into consideration. This includes your income before taxes, insurance, and any other deductions are subtracted. Applicants need to prove all forms of income, including that of which is earned (for example, wages) or unearned, which would be Unemployment Insurance, child support or Social Security payments.
There may be help for working poor families who are no longer eligible for benefits such as Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) because of earnings. Even those Nebraska families who have not recently received ADC may be found to be qualified if their income levels is at or below the monthly income limit, which is also based on family size.
The Child Care Subsidy Program can help pay costs for children who are 12 or younger. There can be exceptions made, if funding is available, for a child up to the age of 19 if the child requires extra care due to mental condition, a disability or an acute or chronic physical issue. They may be able to qualify as well.
Some families who are enrolled will be required to pay a part of their child care bills. This is called a fee or obligation and it will need to be paid. This needs to occur or the case will be closed until the parent has made a satisfactory arrangement with the provider for payment. So only a portion of your bill will be paid for by the state of Nebraska. Depending on your household size and income, the parent more than likely will still owe a monthly fee for each child for whom you receive government assistance.
All parents that are enrolled and who receive the Nebraska Child Care Subsidy will be able to select the provider of their choice, within limits and regulations. They need to be licensed as the Department of Health and Human Services will only pay for some of your child care costs if the provider is licensed or approved by the state. They need to be registered and also have a Provider Agreement in place with DHHS.
Examples of what people select include Child Care Centers that operate as a business, a family home, in-home care, and also so called exempt providers.
There are a number of other rules and conditions that people need to follow in order to remain in the program. The parent is responsible to report any changes in their status. If you move, change your child care provider, or have a change in income levels or job status then those need to be reported. Many other conditions are in place too.
More information can be obtained by dialing Nebraska DHHS at (402) 471-9325.
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