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State details plans, qualifications for summer feeding program set to begin in June

2 months 1 week 18 hours ago Monday, May 06 2024 May 6, 2024 May 06, 2024 1:40 PM May 06, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — Benefits for the Summer EBT Program will begin to be distributed in June, the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Service announced Monday.

The program, also known as SUN Bucks, provides grocery-buying benefits to low-income families with school-aged children when schools are closed for the summer.

Each eligible child will receive a single payment of $120 for the summer, with benefits being issued in multiple phases beginning June 4. Most eligible families will get SUN Bucks automatically, but some parents will need to apply, LDCFS said.

“We do expect a large percentage of eligible children will receive benefits in time for summer,” said Aly Rau, assistant secretary of family support. “The SUN Bucks program, along with the other federal nutrition programs like SUN Meals (the Summer Food Service Program), will provide Louisiana students with access to nutritious meals during the summer months.”

Eligible children will receive SUN Bucks automatically without need for an application. The following will qualify:

- Children whose family already received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) benefits during the 2023-24 school year.
- Children receiving Medicaid.
- Children who applied and were individually approved to receive free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Additionally, children experiencing homelessness, migrant children and children who receive free or reduced-price lunch qualify but must apply for benefits.

Benefits will be rolled out in three phases, beginning in June with children who received SNAP during the 2023-24 school year. Benefits for these children will be added to their household’s existing EBT card. Other eligible children who do not have an existing EBT card will be issued one when their benefits are issued, LDCFS said.

Under federal regulations, SUN Bucks must be used within 122 days from the date the benefits are issued or they will be removed from the card. Once the benefits expire, they cannot be added back on the card.

The state's participation in the program comes after Gov. Jeff Landry's administration quietly opted back into the federal EBT summer feeding program for needy children. The Landry government previously backed out of the program, raising funding concerns.

For more information, visit LDCFS' website.

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