Summer EBT

The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (Summer EBT) is a new federal nutrition program that provides grocery benefits during the summer months to families with children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

Overview

The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (Summer EBT) is a new federal nutrition program that provides grocery benefits during the summer months to families with children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Summer EBT was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 as a permanent, nationwide program beginning in summer 2024. Estimates show 30 million children are eligible for Summer EBT in the United States. 

Summer EBT 101

Get the essential information about this new federal meals program designed to provide eligible children with $120 in grocery benefits during the summer months. 

Summer EBT benefits are $120 per child per summer, though benefits are higher in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. territories. The benefit level will be adjusted annually for inflation after 2024. Benefits are typically provided on a debit-style EBT card to purchase food at stores, farmers markets, and online.   

Permanent Summer EBT builds off of the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children (SEBTC) demonstration pilots that began in 2011 and Pandemic EBT that provided benefits to eligible children to replace school meals when schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SEBTC pilots reduced very-low food insecurity for participating children by a third and increased consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

Summer EBT and summer meals work together to address the summer hunger gap. Children can participate in both Summer EBT and summer meals, providing families with more food resources during the summer months. 

For More Information

For additional details on the history of Summer EBT, key program rules, and links to USDA guidance and resources, see the Summer EBT section of our Summer & Afterschool Meals Policy page. 

The Summer EBT Playbook

Download the Summer EBT Playbook!

Code for America and No Kid Hungry developed the Summer EBT Playbook as an actionable, technical resource for agencies who are engaged in Summer EBT implementation for 2024 and beyond. The playbook focuses on the key data and technology systems needed to deliver a human-centered Summer EBT program.

Data & Systems for Summer EBT

Summer EBT application, certification, customer service, and evaluation processes are deeply data-centric. Tailoring data and technology best practices for the context of your state/territory/Indian tribal organization (ITO) will allow for implementation that both serves households efficiently and reduces administrative burden.

Data & Systems Considerations

Planning

Data sharing agreements (DSAs) or memoranda of understanding (MOUs) will need to be in place among state/territory/ITO government, local education agencies (LEAs), and/or school food authorities (SFAs) for data elements required for Summer EBT eligibility determination. DSAs or MOUs may already be in place from Pandemic EBT implementation and may need amendments or addenda to allow for the implementation of Summer EBT.

Consider including in your data sharing elements that allow for evaluation of the reach and utility of Summer EBT, for the purpose of improving implementation over time. For example: do uptake and utilization of Summer EBT vary across:

  • Races and ethnicities?
  • Rural and urban areas?
  • Household sizes?

 

Application and Certification

For streamlined certification, data from programs used for direct certification or categorical eligibility of free and reduced-price (FRP) meals will need to be combined with data from FRP applications (in non-special provision schools) or alternative income forms (in special provision schools) and then deduplicated to identify the children who can receive Summer EBT benefits without an application. More information about data aggregation best practices can be found here.

Households with school-aged children enrolled in schools participating in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) or National School Lunch Program (NSLP) who are not streamline-certified must apply for Summer EBT. Applications should be available in multiple languages and formats to ensure that all children who are eligible for benefits receive benefits.

Communications

Early communication with households will be critical to the success of Summer EBT. In addition to letting households know that the Summer EBT program is being implemented in their state, households also need to know whether they will be receiving benefits automatically or if they will need to apply to receive benefits. Communication about who needs to apply is particularly critical in special provision schools.

Information about program administration should be shared widely among all Summer EBT collaborators. This includes sharing information among state agencies, local education agencies (LEAs), school food authorities (SFAs), school administrators, and community organizations. A web portal with up-to-date information can be helpful in ensuring that all collaborators have access to the right information at the right time.

Customer Support

Updating address information will be important for ensuring benefits are delivered to the correct household. Address information may be different in the many databases where student and child information is stored as households move from one place to another, opt to use separate home and mailing addresses, send mail to a post office (PO) box, etc.

Households should be able to update their addresses as needed for benefit delivery, and a process should be in place to propagate updated address information to other student/child databases as needed.

Tracking customer support issues can be an excellent data source for identifying systems-level issues with Summer EBT. Customer support logs should be reviewed regularly.
 

Outreach & Communications

Outreach and communications to families with children eligible for Summer EBT is critical. As a new program, families will be learning about Summer EBT for the first time in 2024. Simple, clear, and effective communication is especially important for Summer EBT because families with eligible children can receive Summer EBT in different ways. For instance, many families with school-aged children will automatically receive Summer EBT benefits with an EBT card mailed to them, while others who are eligible will need to apply. Clear communication will ensure eligible families know the information they need to access and participate in the program. 

The Summer EBT Materials Checklist, as seen below, provides guidance on how to ensure that the communication to families includes all the critical elements to support families in utilizing Summer EBT, including easily understandable information, clear directives, and appropriate accessibility.

 

 

The United States Department of Agriculture has a Summer EBT outreach toolkit for state agencies and community partners to use. 

Materials For State, Territory, and Tribal Agencies

No Kid Hungry is providing state/territory/tribal agencies with customizable materials that can be added directly to agency websites to provide stakeholders with easily understandable information about Summer EBT.

Because of differences in how Summer EBT agencies are implementing this program, these resources are designed to be customized at the state/territory/tribe level and then distributed to any partners that may be helping families navigate access to Summer EBT. 

Here are a preview of some of the resources available:

Eligibility Navigator

This interactive tool can be used to help households understand if a child may be eligible for Summer EBT. Once customized for your state/territory/tribe, it can be embedded into websites, linked to resources, and circulated to partners who may help families understand eligibility. 

 

VIDEO COMING SOON

 

 

Eligibility Overview

This one-page overview is designed to explain who is eligible for the program, who will receive it automatically, and who needs to apply. Its target audience is families as well as schools and other organizations that will support families in understanding Summer EBT.

 

This image showcases the customizable Summer EBT overview that state agencies can personalize and put on their websites.

Income Guidelines

The Summer EBT Income Eligibility Guidelines will show you the highest household income that is eligible for Summer EBT benefits if you must apply for benefits. To see if you will need to apply for benefits, use our eligibility tool or your state's eligibility tool if it has one. If your child does not receive Summer EBT benefits automatically, you must apply for benefits. For families applying for Summer EBT benefits, household income must be under the maximum income limits for your household size that's allowed for Summer EBT (185% of the federal poverty level). The income limits are based on where your child lives and the number of people in your child's household. Enter your child's state/territory of residence and household size to view the maximum income limits for Summer EBT for your household. Click here to determine your eligibility. Access the Spanish language version HERE

State:
Household Size:
 


 

Annual

Monthly

Twice per Month

Every Two Weeks

Weekly

     

Your household is eligible for Summer EBT if your income is no more than annually, monthly, twice per month, every two weeks, or weekly.

School Checklist 

This checklist is part of No Kid Hungry’s Summer EBT School Outreach Toolkit, providing customizable materials state agency’s can send to schools to help school stakeholders understand Summer EBT, provide support in communicating Summer EBT to families, and equip them with the answers to questions families might have. 

 

 This image shows the checklist state agencies can provide to schools to prepare them for communication with families.

 

Download Customizable Materials

To access the customizable Summer EBT materials, please click on the link below. You will be asked to submit you email address. A member of our team will verify and send you the Summer EBT outreach materials.