USDA issues important deadline for implementation of new summer nutrition program

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Rachel Mackey

Legislative Director – Human Services & Education | Veterans & Military Services
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Julia Cortina

Legislative Associate

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Key Takeaways

On November 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued a press release reminding states of the January 1, 2024 deadline for filing a notice of intent to implement the new Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) in 2024. County leaders committed to combating child hunger in the summer with this new support can strongly encourage state partners to submit a notice of intent. States that file a notice of intent but are unable to implement the program this summer will not be penalized.

About the Summer EBT Program 

  • In December 2022, Congress enacted a permanent, nationwide expansion of the Summer-EBT program, which provides summertime grocery benefits to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price (FRP) school meals.

  • Beginning in Summer 2024, Summer EBT will support families with $40 each summer month per eligible child on a pre-loaded card to buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets, or other authorized retailers, similar to how SNAP benefits are used.

  • The nationwide Summer EBT program will fill an important gap in federal child nutrition programs. In July 2022, only 11 percent of children accessing FRP lunch during the school years received lunch at a Summer Meals site.  

  • Children who have been certified as eligible for free or reduced-price meals are automatically eligible for the Summer EBT program without filling out an application.

Why Summer EBT matters to counties

  • Counties play an integral role in combating food and nutrition insecurity among low-income residents, including by partnering with USDA in the administration of federal nutrition assistance programs.

  • Rigorous evaluations suggest Summer EBT is effective at increasing food security and supporting healthier diets in children. 

  • Once implemented nationwide, Summer EBT is expected to benefit more than 29 million low-income children who may otherwise struggle to access adequate nutrition during the summer.

Take action to encourage Summer EBT implementation in your community

  • To offer Summer EBT benefits in 2024, states must submit their notice of intent to their regional USDA FNS office by January 1, 2024. USDA has created a Summer EBT Notice of Intent Template which can be accessed here.

  • California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia have sent in notices of intent. 

  • County leaders can encourage state partners who have not yet submitted a notice of intent to do so by the deadline of January 1, 2024. Any states that are unable to implement the Summer EBT program after filing intent will not be penalized and will be able to participate in future years.

Learn more about Summer EBT:

Summer EBT Implementation Toolkit

Summer EBT Q&As

Estimated Numbers of Summer EBT Eligible Children by State/Territory

A Guide to Summer EBT Eligibility

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