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LAW Home > Legal Topics > Government Aid and Services > Food - Hunger/Nutrition > School Breakfast and School Lunch

The Summer EBT Program in New Jersey


Food insecurity is a nationwide problem. When schools are closed during the summer break, many children need access to healthy and nourishing meals. The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program can help vulnerable low-income families meet this need.

The Summer EBT Program

Congress created the nationwide Summer EBT program in 2022 to combat child hunger throughout the summer for students who depend on school meals. Cash assistance is provided to eligible students who receive free or reduced-price meals at school.

Eligible students will  receive $40 per month for each summer month, totaling $120 per child. Money is provided through an EBT card, which functions like a credit or debit card and can be used to buy food at authorized locations.

Families  with eligible children will be provided with an EBT card for each child, which will be mailed to the home address listed on the student’s school meal application. New Jersey payments  will be disbursed in a single lump sum and can only be used to purchase groceries and food.

The Summer EBT program is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2024 and will be a valuable addition to the existing Summer Nutrition Program and various meal sites across the state.

Who is eligible?

Summer EBT benefits will be provided for students who are:

  • New Jersey residents
  • Students in grades K-12 eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
  • Students attending a school enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP)
  • In a family that completed and submitted a school meal application for their children
  • Living in a household with an income at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

In order to receive Summer EBT benefits, students must be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast program through the school before the school year ends. These programs do not consider a parent, guardian, or child’s immigration of citizenship status. Parents should double-check with their child’s school to confirm that they are enrolled or submit an application as soon as possible. Parents can apply for school meals at any time during the year. Applications vary by school and are accessible on the local school district’s website. To obtain the correct meal application and instructions on how to fill it out, families can contact their children’s school or district.

Immigration Status and Public Charge

Families do not need to provide immigration and citizenship documentation when receiving Summer EBT benefits or applying for school meals. Children receiving Summer EBT and free or reduced-price meals will not affect the immigration status of anyone in the family.

185% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for 2024

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