August 26, 2022

2022 Summer P-EBT: Florida Announces Plans to Feed 2.8 Million Hungry Children

The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) announcement that it is applying for over $840 million in federal funds through the Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefits Program (Summer P-EBT) to help put food on the table for almost 3 million children is very good news for struggling families.[1]  Summer P-EBT provides families with grocery assistance to purchase food over the summer for children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school or child care during the school year through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).  With the costs of food skyrocketing, Summer P-EBT is a lifesaver to help families with low income fill the gap in meals that their children missed over the summer break.

Note: This document is based on information available as of the date of publication. As Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) finalizes plans to roll out Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) for the summer of 2022, some of this information may change. Although this document will be updated to reflect any changes, FPI recommends consulting the Department of Children and Families’  P-EBT website for up-to-date details about any modifications to P-EBT eligibility criteria or issuance. 

Which children can get Summer P-EBT?

Summer P-EBT targets kids who need food assistance the most. Although details about DCF’s plan have not been released yet, assistance will likely be available to children under six who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) this summer, as well as to every school child in Florida who was eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals through NSLP last school year (2021-2022) or became eligible for NSLP this summer. NSLP provides free school meals to children in families with incomes at or below 130 percent of poverty and reduced-price meals to school children in families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of poverty.

How much in Summer P-EBT will families get for their eligible children?

Families of eligible kids can get $7.10 in food assistance per day for every weekday—or $391 total for the summer--for each of their qualified children. Summer P-EBT will be issued on EBT cards to the child’s parent or guardian.  EBT cards, which can only be used for food, work like debit or credit cards. Most grocery stores and many farmers markets accept Summer P-EBT. These benefits can be used to buy food, with certain exceptions such as alcohol, hot foods, and foods prepared for immediate consumption, like toasted sandwiches at the deli.

DCF has not yet said when they will distribute 2022 Summer P-EBT benefits.

How much does it cost Florida to participate in Summer P-EBT?

Money to provide Summer P-EBT benefits comes from the federal government, not from state coffers. The federal government even helps to pay for the cost of administering the program

Whys is Summer P-EBT important?

Florida’s children continue to suffer from hunger. In a survey of households conducted by the Census Bureau from June 29, 2022, through July 11, 2022, 23  percent of adults living with children in Florida reported that their kids often or sometimes were food insecure. Although summer feeding programs are critical in defending against food insecurity, those programs normally only reach about 1 in 5 children whose families rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. Among other reasons, this is because many families lack transportation to a summer meal site.

What is the authority for Summer P-EBT?

Summer P-EBT is authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as amended by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees Summer P-EBT on the federal level, tries to make it easy for states  to apply to run the program by giving them a streamlined template to submit the necessary information for approval-- and even offering technical help. Approximately 35 other states, including Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, have already applied for and been approved to run Summer P-EBT programs in 2022.

 

[1] These estimates are based on Summer P-EBT eligibility in Florida for 2021. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends using 2021 data as an estimate for 2022 Summer P-EBT eligibility.

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