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Summer EBT

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What is Summer EBT?

Summer EBT provides families with school-aged children with an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card to purchase groceries during the summer when school is out.

How Does it Work?

Summer EBT, also known as SUN Bucks, provides families with a monthly grocery benefit to feed their children for three summer months (June, July, August) when children are not receiving free or reduced-price meals at school.

In summer 2024, families will receive a one-time benefit of $120 for the summer for each eligible child. Benefits are distributed on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card and can be used at authorized retail locations, including some farmers’ markets.

Who is Eligible?

Income Requirement

Families must meet the household income requirements for free or reduced-priced meals (total household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level).

 

There are several ways to demonstrate income eligibility (see next section, How Do I Apply?)

Age Requirement

If your child qualifies for Summer EBT through an application on file with a school operating the National School Lunch Program, they do not have an additional age requirement.

 

If your child qualifies for Summer EBT through their participation in another qualifying program (SNAP, TANF, Income Eligible Medicaid, VTTC, and/or Youth in Care/foster care) AND your child does NOT have a completed application on file with a school operating the National School Lunch Program, they must meet Illinois’s compulsory school age to receive Summer EBT benefits in 2024 (date of birth between July 2, 2005 and August 31, 2018).

Citizenship Requirement

No citizenship requirement.

 

Summer EBT will NOT be considered under the public charge rule.

How Do I Apply?

Many eligible families will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT based on their participation in another qualifying program. Some families will need to complete a Summer EBT application.

Check Whether You Need to Apply for Summer EBT

Visit the online Summer EBT Screener to check whether you need to apply for Summer EBT or whether your child’s eligibility has already been confirmed through their participation in another program. You can also confirm whether your address is correct to make sure that you receive a Summer EBT card.

 

After you complete the screener, if you need to complete an application, you will receive the link to the online application.

Complete the Summer EBT Screener

Your Child May Be Automatically Enrolled

Many eligible families will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT based on their participation in another qualifying program. There are two main pathways to qualify for Summer EBT through participation in another program.

1. Through Participation in a Qualifying Program:

Your child will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT if they were enrolled in one of the following programs at any point during the period July 1, 2023 through August 31, 2024:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Link)
  • Income Eligible Medicaid (Medicaid must have documentation that your household income is under 185% of the federal poverty level)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF/cash)
  • Youth in Care/foster children
  • Victims of Trafficking, Torture, or Other Serious Crimes (VTTC) cash or food assistance

If you have an active Link card, benefits will be automatically loaded to your card.


If you don’t have an active Link card,
an EBT card will be mailed to you, so make sure that your address on file with the program is up-to-date. Visit the FAQs to learn how to update your address.

2. Through a School that Operates the National School Lunch Program (NSLP):

Your child will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT if they attended an Illinois school operating the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and completed one of the following applications for the 2023-2024 school year:

  • Free or reduced-price meals application
  • Alternative household income application

If your child attends an NSLP school where all meals are served free, they will NOT be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT. These types of schools are often Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools.

  • Visit the online Summer EBT Screener to check whether you need to apply for Summer EBT and complete an application.
  • If it’s during the school year, contact your school to complete an alternative household income application.

If your child attends a NSLP school but your family did not complete a free or reduced-price school meals application, they will NOT be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT.

  • Visit the online Summer EBT Screener to check whether you need to apply for Summer EBT and complete an application.
  • If it’s during the school year, contact your school to complete a free or reduced-price school meals application.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has an online Summer EBT Screener where you can check whether you need to apply for Summer EBT or whether your child’s eligibility has already been confirmed through their participation in another program.  

To use the screener, you will need to enter your child’s name and at least one piece of additional information: 

  • Date of Birth; 
  • Social Security Number; or, 
  • School District 

After you complete the screener, if you need to complete an application, you will receive the link to the online application. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2024.

You can use the Summer EBT Screener to confirm that IDHS has the correct address for you. 

August 31, 2024 is the last day to apply to receive Summer EBT benefits in summer 2024.

In Summer 2024, benefits will be issued starting in August. When benefits are issued, a Notice of Summer EBT Eligibility will be mailed to households that will detail the eligible children, amount and availability of issued benefits. The notice will also provide instructions on how to view your EBT/Link account online.

Families will receive a one-time benefit of $120 for each eligible child to purchase groceries.

If your child was enrolled in SNAP or TANF food/cash benefits during the period 7/1/2023 through 8/31/2024 and your family has an active Link card, Summer EBT benefits will be loaded onto the food portion of your Link card.

If your Link card is no longer active or you never had a Link card, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will issue a new card that will be mailed to you.

Cards will be mailed to the address that the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has on file for you. The address on file will be the address associated with the program that was used to determine your child’s eligibility for Summer EBT (school meal application, SNAP, Medicaid, TANF or foster care).

You can use the Summer EBT Screener to confirm that IDHS has the correct address for you.

You can update your address by calling the Summer EBT Hotline at 1-833-621-0737.

You should also update your address with the program that was used to determine your child’s eligibility for Summer EBT.

  • If your child is enrolled in SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF: use ABE Manage My Case (MMC) to report your change of address.
  • If your child is enrolled in free or reduced-price school meals: Contact your school to update your address.

 

Families can work with their local school or Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) to provide an address for card delivery. Find the closest FCRC.

If your family is enrolled in SNAP, TANF, or income eligible Medicaid in Illinois and you have a school-aged child, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will automatically enroll you in Summer EBT.

If your family is NOT enrolled in SNAP, TANF, or income eligible Medicaid in Illinois and you moved to Illinois after the end of the 2023-2024 school year, you should contact your prior state to determine eligibility for Summer EBT in 2024.

You should only receive Summer EBT benefits from one state each year. If you accidentally receive benefits from more than one state, you should only use the benefits from the state where your child completed the prior school year.

Summer EBT benefits are used like SNAP benefits.

Customers can use their EBT card at a SNAP authorized retailer to purchase SNAP-eligible items. Once you swipe or enter your card number, select EBT as the form of payment and the food/SNAP portion of the account.

Customers can also use their EBT card at participating farmers’ markets. EBT cards may operate differently at farmers’ markets or farm stands. Visit the information booth for more details.  

Summer EBT benefits can be redeemed at authorized retail locations, including some farmers’ markets. 

Summer EBT benefits can be used to purchase SNAP-eligible items. Find a list of SNAP eligible food-items.

Yes. Summer EBT benefits must be used within 122 days of issuance.

Yes. You can get Summer EBT even if your child is getting free meals at school, camp or other places this summer.

The Summer Meals Site Finder is live for the 2024 summer period and many sites across the state have started serving meals. Additional sites may be added throughout the summer.

Families can text “FOOD” (or “COMIDA”) to 304-304.

Families can also contact the USDA National Hunger Hotline, operated by Hunger Free America. The hotline can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) (for English) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) (for Spanish).

No. It is important to know that Summer EBT will not count in a public charge test. All students are eligible regardless of immigration status. Visit ProtectingImmigrantFamilies.org for information about what public benefits impact the public charge test.

You can “opt out” of the program by calling the Summer EBT hotline at at 1-833-621-0737.

To be eligible, your family must have income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. Check your annual or monthly household income against the charts below.

From July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025
https://www.isbe.net/Documents/IEG-25.pdf

Annual Income Limits for Families Through June 30, 2024

# of Persons in Family Income Limit
1 $26,973
2 $36,482
3 $45,991
4 $55,500
5 $65,009
6 $74,518
7 $84,027
8 $93,536

 

Monthly Income Limits for Families Through June 30, 2024

# of Persons in Family Income Limit
1 $2,248
2 $3,041
3 $3,833
4 $4,625
5 $5,418
6 $6,210
7 $7,003
8 $7,795

 

From July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025
https://www.isbe.net/Documents/IEG-25.pdf

Annual Income Limits for Families through June 30, 2025

# of Persons in Family Income Limit
1 $27,861
2 $37,814
3 $47,767
4 $57,720
5 $67,673
6 $77,626
7 $87,579
8 $97,532

 

Monthly Income Limits for Families through June 30, 2025

# of Persons in Family Income Limit
1 $2,322
2 $3,152
3 $3,981
4 $4,810
5 $5,640
6 $6,469
7 $7,299
8 $8,128

Not necessarily. Some families who received P-EBT will have to apply.

The eligibility rules are different for Summer EBT, including age requirements and the eligibility rules for homeschooled children.

The enrollment process is different for Summer EBT. There are several ways to demonstrate income eligibility and enroll in Summer EBT (see section above, How Do I Apply?)

Full Website Launching Soon

We Got You Illinois helps Illinois residents get connected to nutrition assistance programs by providing information about all nutrition programs in one place, including how programs work, who is eligible, and how to apply.

The full website is launching summer 2024. We Got You Illinois is an initiative of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger.