NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Machaela Cavanaugh

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

District 6

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at mcavanaugh@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 3rd, 2024

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 6th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

FEMA to Open Disaster Recovery Centers in Douglas and Washington counties

LINCOLN, Neb. – FEMA is opening two Disaster Recovery Centers this Friday, May 10, in Douglas and Washington counties to provide one-on-one assistance for people affected by the April tornadoes.

The recovery center in Douglas County will open at 8 a.m. Friday.

The Washington County center will open at 1 p.m. Friday.

Both locations will then be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice.

Recovery specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration will provide information on available services, explain assistance programs and help survivors complete or check the status of their applications.

Disaster Recovery Center Locations:

 

Douglas County

Omaha Police Department – Community Room C116

20924 Cumberland Dr

Elkhorn, NE 68022

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice

Washington County

First Lutheran Church

2146 Wright St

Blair, NE 68008

Open: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, then 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice

To save time, please apply with FEMA online or by phone before visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. If you need help completing your application, FEMA staff will be on hand to help you in person.

How to Apply with FEMA

  • Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Call FEMA directly at 800-621-FEMA (3362)
  • Download and use the FEMA app
  • Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service. For an accessible video on three ways to apply for FEMA assistance, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU7wzRjByhI

FEMA Offers a Variety of Help for Nebraska Tornado Survivors

FEMA can provide money to eligible applicants for help with serious needs, paying for a temporary place to live, home repairs and other needs not covered by insurance.

Money provided by FEMA does not have to be repaid and may include:

  • Serious Needs: Money for lifesaving and life-sustaining items, including water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, breastfeeding supplies, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation.
  • Displacement: Money to help with housing needs if you cannot return to your home because of the disaster. The money can be used to stay in a hotel, with family and friends or other options while you look for a rental unit.
  • Home Repair or Replacement: Money to help you repair or replace your home damaged by the disaster. The money can also help with pre-existing damage to parts of your home where the disaster caused further damage.
  • Rental Assistance: Money you can use to rent housing if you are displaced from your home because of the disaster.
  • Other Needs: Money to help you repair or replace personal property, pay for child care expenses caused by the disaster, repair or replace a vehicle damaged by the disaster, and pay for disaster-related moving and storage expenses.

Disaster Recovery Centers are physically accessible to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. They are equipped with assistance and adaptive technology such as amplified phones, caption phones, video phones, wheelchair ramps and other resources to help ensure all applicants can access resources.


LINCOLN, Neb. – FEMA is offering a wide variety of help to people affected by the April tornadoes. Every homeowner and renter who suffered damage is encouraged to apply.

FEMA can provide money to eligible applicants for help with serious needs, paying for a temporary place to live, home repairs and other needs not covered by insurance.

Money provided by FEMA does not have to be repaid and may include:

  • Serious Needs: Money for lifesaving and life-sustaining items, including water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, breastfeeding supplies, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation.
  • Displacement: Money to help with housing needs if you cannot return to your home because of the disaster. The money can be used to stay in a hotel, with family and friends or other options while you look for a rental unit.
  • Home Repair or Replacement: Money to help you repair or replace your home damaged by the disaster. The money can also help with pre-existing damage to parts of your home where the disaster caused further damage.
  • Rental Assistance: Money you can use to rent housing if you are displaced from your home because of the disaster.
  • Personal Property: Money to help you repair or replace appliances, room furnishings, and a personal or family computer damaged by the disaster. This can also include money for books, uniforms, tools, additional computers and other items required for school or work, including self-employment.
  • Child Care: Money to help you pay for increased or child care expenses caused by the disaster.
  • Transportation: Money to help you repair or replace a vehicle damaged by the disaster when you don’t have another vehicle you can use.
  • Moving and Storage Expenses: Money to help you move and store personal property from your home to prevent additional damage.

Apply with FEMA Whether You Have Insurance or Not

  • Everyone with disaster damage should apply whether they have insurance or not.
  • If you have homeowners, renters, or flood insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. Please stay in close contact with your insurance agency.
  • FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover all your disaster expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance.
  • Only damage and needs related to the storms of April 25-27 are eligible.

How to Apply with FEMA

  • Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Call FEMA directly at 800-621-FEMA (3362)
  • Download and use the FEMA app
  • FEMA works with every household on a case-by-case basis.
  • Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service. For an accessible video on three ways to apply for FEMA assistance, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU7wzRjByhI

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.

###

The Nebraska Department of Labor is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) from individuals in Douglas and Washington counties whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted due to the disaster. Additional information can be found in the daily fact sheet. DFS003 Daily Fact Sheet DR4778NE 05082024

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced additional actions it is taking to help people maintain coverage as states continue Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility renewals, which restarted across the country last spring following a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s actions will continue and extend a previously announced flexibility to make it easier for people to transition to Health Insurance Marketplace®[1] coverage through 2024, help more people with Medicaid and CHIP navigate renewals, and reinforce important federal requirements that are crucial for protecting coverage in states during and beyond “Medicaid unwinding.”

CMS is extending a temporary special enrollment period (SEP) to help people who are no longer eligible for Medicaid or CHIP transition to Marketplace coverage in states using HealthCare.gov. The end date of this “Unwinding SEP” will be extended from July 31, 2024, to November 30, 2024, which will help more people leaving Medicaid or CHIP secure affordable, comprehensive coverage through the start of the next open enrollment period. This extension will be crucial to ensuring people remain covered, including in states that have given people additional time to renew their coverage, as CMS has recommended, to help eligible people stay enrolled. States with state-based Marketplaces can adopt similar extensions.

Read more at: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/hhs-takes-additional-actions-help-people-stay-covered-during-medicaid-and-chip-renewals?utm_source=Weekly+Updates&utm_campaign=bede7e4e8a-April+1+Newsletter_POLICYMAKER&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e0e125bf79-bede7e4e8a-137941417

The Nebraska Broadband Office (NBO) announces the next step in its work bringing the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funds to Nebraska, a once-in-a-generation resource to ensure all Nebraska homes and businesses can connect to a global economy. This next step is the challenge process, and NBO is asking for every Nebraskan’s participation, effective immediately.

The goal of the challenge process is to ensure the Nebraska Broadband Availability Map is as accurate as possible. The map defines exact locations in Nebraska according to their high-speed internet (aka broadband) access. The outcome of the challenge process will determine which locations are eligible for BEAD funding to bring high-speed internet to those communities. The challenge process is 90 days broken into three 30-day segments – challenges, rebuttals and decisions. Once the process is complete, changes cannot be made to the Nebraska Broadband Availability Map and only locations marked as unserved or underserved will be able to be bid on by internet providers, to extend access to broadband.

From March 15, 2024, through April 14, 2024, we are asking all Nebraskans to review their homes’ and businesses’ addresses on the Nebraska Broadband Availability Map. This is the best way to ensure a location is eligible for funding. If the information is wrong, please contact an advocate, which is defined as local government offices, nonprofits and internet service providers (ISPs). These advocates are the only entities who can submit challenges to the map. These eligible offices, nonprofits and ISPs are encouraged to contact NBO to register as advocates for their communities. A list of registered advocates can be found on our website at broadband.nebraska.gov/challenge/consumers/find-an-advocate.

If a location’s internet service information is wrong, please contact an advocate and request their help to submit a challenge. A step-by-step guide to this process is available on NBO’s website at
broadband.nebraska.gov.

ISPs will be notified when they are named in a challenge and will have 30 days to rebut from the time of the notification. NBO will have another 30 days to review challenges and rebuttals and make final determinations. NBO’s decisions will undergo a final approval process by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Challenges and their statuses will be published to the NBO website on a rolling basis. The challenge process will be the final determination of the unserved/underserved locations funded by Nebraska’s BEAD program. After April 14, 2024, NBO will be unable to accept any further challenges to the map.
Reach out to NBO with questions or comments at ndot.broadbandoffice@nebraska.gov.

 

What is Happening?

Since March 2020, federal law has generally required states to keep most people with Medicaid enrolled in coverage regardless of changes – like a change in income – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal law recently changed, and now, enrollees who no longer qualify for Medicaid or who do not complete their renewal may be terminated from coverage.

 

An estimated 40,000-80,000 Nebraska Medicaid enrollees will no longer be eligible and will be terminated from coverage, and the first possible terminations started in April 2023. Many others may not be aware that renewals are restarting, and failure to complete renewal paperwork or requests for information may lead to termination of coverage. DHHS has identified at least 145,000 Nebraskans that may be at risk of losing their coverage – this highlights that many more Nebraskans may be at risk of losing their coverage, even if they are still eligible for Medicaid.

 

Renewals Have Restarted

In March 2023, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) started evaluating whether Medicaid enrollees are eligible to continue to receive Medicaid coverage. DHHS is generally required to complete a full renewal of a Medicaid enrollee’s case before terminating Medicaid coverage. During this process, DHHS will be sending notices to current Medicaid enrollees and may be requesting information or explaining changes in coverage.

 

What Should Medicaid Enrollees Do?

  1. Update Contact Information with DHHS Now

    1. Online at ACCESSNebraska.ne.gov

    2. By Phone at (855) 632-7633

    3. By Email at DHHS.ANDICenter@nebraska.gov

    4. By Fax at (402) 742-2351

  2. Check Mail/Email and Watch for Communications from DHHS

  3. Complete Verification Requests and/or Medicaid Renewal Forms on time

  4. Contact Nebraska Appleseed with any issues or for further assistance at neappleseed.org/gethelp.

 

Resources Available

    • The Nebraska Homeowner Assistance Fund (NHAF) has added assistance for past-due utilities and internet services, future payments for those with a deferred balance on their primary mortgage, and increased assistance for qualified homeowners from $30,000 to $40,000.
    • The program continues to assist with past-due mortgage payments, past-due real estate taxes, past-due homeowner association dues, past-due homeowners or flood insurance, and clearing liens from a homeowner’s property.
  • The Nebraska Homeowner Assistance Fund (NHAF) provides relief to pandemic-impacted homeowners that have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship that began or continued after January 21, 2020
  • Income limits apply
  • Learn more at NebraskaHAF.com 

 

Arbor Lodge Outing

 

Please follow the link to see their flyer.

The current care gap that excludes families that include children with severe disabilities has led to Nebraska having the 5th highest cost of services in the nation. We end up paying for the most expensive services.  This waiver will help us bring down the average cost of services from $63,000 per individual to a $12,000 cap.  It may look like new money but really this is just changing where we would spend the money — from emergency services that cost us on average over $130,000 per individual per year to ensuring these children get the proper early and preventative services in their home instead of in an emergency room.

I believe these changes will decrease the number of children currently on the waiting list for home and community-based services. It will also provide support to family caregivers, allowing them to remain in the workforce. Remaining in the workforce means the family and the state can benefit from the family caregivers’ private health insurance as a first payer, thereby lessening the demand on Medicaid. 

I introduced the bill last year. On general file, or first round of debate, the bill had good support. On select file, even though it was a committee priority bill and was already calculated into the budget, the bill was filibustered and failed to advance. This year, I gave the bill my personal priority to get it back on the agenda. After some negotiation and an amendment, LB 376 has advanced to final reading.

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

District 6
Room 1115
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2714
Email: mcavanaugh@leg.ne.gov
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