Issue Brief 23-17
December 15, 2023

A new permanent nationwide summer nutrition program for children called Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) begins in 2024. Building on a demonstration project operating since 2011, it will provide debit cards with $40 per summer month per child, redeemable for groceries, to families of school-age children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the school year. The federal government will cover benefits and half of administrative costs. States wishing to offer the program in summer 2024 must submit a (nonbinding) letter of intent and statement of match funding availability by January 1.

This brief surveys other summer nutrition programs, reviews key features of the new program, presents deadlines and federal guidance relevant for states, and lists federal estimates of the number of children in each state eligible for the new program.