In 2015, Nebraska’s welfare and Medicaid administrative program was ordered to serve the public better or lose millions of dollars.

The system, called ACCESSNebraska, came under federal criticism for taking too long to process applications for food stamps — also known as supplemental nutrition assistance (SNAP).

The federal government threatened to pull $17 million from Nebraska due to the state’s poor performance.

A settlement agreement in the federal court case of Leiting-Hall v. Winterer required Nebraska’s Department Health and Human Services to process at least 96% of SNAP applications in a timely, efficient way.

On Tuesday, June 5, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced ACCESSNebraska has exceeded the requirements.

Ricketts said for the last 28 months, the eligibility operations team processed SNAP applications and recertification within the timelines 96% of the time, or better.

Calls come into the state office by the tens of thousands, Ricketts said in the announcement. In May, there were 45,768 calls to economic assistance and 27,201 calls to Medicaid. Each of the 72,969 calls was answered in less than five minutes, Ricketts said.

In April, the team was able to process nearly half (45%) of all applications for economic assistance on the same day the application was received.

On average, it took 7.05 days to process an application for economic assistance in April, which is under the goal of 10 days, the announcement said.

The average time to determine an applicant’s eligibility for Medicaid in April was 17 days — the lowest average time since October 2013.

Ricketts signed a proclamation Tuesday thanking ACCESSNebraska and their eligibility operations team.

“Health and Human Services has now been delivering services through ACCESSNebraska in a more effective and efficient manner for over two years,” he said.  “The work of the team has developed a new client-centered approach, which has protected taxpayers from potential loss of federal funding.  Thank you to the entire team for their continued dedication to improving operations and taking care of Nebraskans who need our help.”