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Happy Independence Day! Our nation has been tested in the past, is facing challenges today, and no doubt will in the future. I am confident that our system of government and the compassion, strength and tenacity of our people will ensure that this legacy of democracy will be preserved as we work together.
Thank you to all the many workers, teachers, caregivers, elected officials and others who have helped navigate our counties, our state, and our economy through this Covid-19 situation. So many individuals have given of their time and talents to make Nebraska a great place to live, and a great home for our future generations.
To that end, we all continue to manage the present crisis as best we can. The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) will begin offering the Extended Benefits (EB) program for eligible individuals who exhaust their previous unemployment benefits. Under federal law, the EB program offers up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted any regular unemployment benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits for which they were eligible. Eligibility criteria is available here: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_24-20.pdf
Lincoln Electric System will resume normal billing operations in July. As of June, most past due bills are likely six months old at this point. Standard disconnect notices will be mailed in mid-July. LES officials pointed out that there are currently 2,100 customers who have not contacted LES to make arrangements for past due bills, which is 350% higher than is typical, and account for nearly $1 million in past due balances.
Utility bill financial assistance IS available but the customer must take the action. If you are struggling to pay your electric bill, contact LES at 402-475-4211 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a flexible plan and not get even further behind. Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County has funds available through the Energy Assistance Program , but you must apply for assistance. Contact them at 402-471-4515 or go to www.communityactionatwork.org for more information. You can also find help through Catholic Social Services, Legal Aid, and the Department of Health and Human Services, www.dhhs.ne.gov.
It is important to know that utility charges still apply, they were not erased and are still due even though disconnect procedures were suspended for the past few months. Other power districts are also making similar changes. For more information and exact details, be sure to contact your specific utility suppliers.
We are now just a couple weeks away from coming back together at the Capitol for the remainder of the legislative session. I have been working with a group of senators trying to come up with an acceptable plan for property tax relief. As I have said before, if this were an easy fix, it would have been done by now. Bringing all affected parties together, where everyone feels treated fairly, is no easy task. Of course, current events compound this issue to an even greater degree than we had a year ago when consensus was already difficult to reach. We will keep at it, a solution is possible but it will take a great deal of effort.
Please continue to reach out to my office with your concerns and comments. You can communicate at any time by leaving a message at 402-471-2620 or sending me an email at email@example.com. Enjoy the 4th of July and stay safe and well.