January 2, 2024

Statement from Florida Policy Institute on DCF Stating Florida Will Not Apply for Summer EBT Child Nutrition Program

FLORIDA - On December 21st, a spokeswoman from Florida's Department of Children and Families shared a statement indicating that the department did not intend to apply for the Summer EBT Program for 2024. The deadline to apply is January 1st, 2024. If DCF notifies USDA by January 1 of its intention to participate but does not end up participating, there is no penalty. Summer EBT is a federal nutrition program for children from families with low incomes; families receive boosted SNAP benefits over the summer to compensate for the lack of access to school meals during the summer months. In 2021, the state reversed course about participating in a similar pandemic-era program, Summer Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT). Florida was the last state to apply, and only reversed course after pressure from stakeholders across the state urged participation. In the end, DCF administered the Summer P-EBT program for three years: 2021, 2022, and 2023. For each year, $1 billion was delivered via DCF's Summer P-EBT program in nutrition aid to about 2 million children. The Summer EBT program for 2024 would serve around 2.2 million children and deliver around $259 million in nutrition aid, if the state were to apply. This would generate up to $466 million in extra economic activity.

The following is a statement from Florida Policy Institute’s CEO, Sadaf Knight:

In 2021, 2022, and 2023, Florida’s DCF oversaw the distribution of a very similar summer nutrition program for low-income children in Florida (Summer Pandemic-EBT), delivering about $1 billion a year in summer SNAP for around 2 million children. Summer is a time when schools are closed and access to nutritious foods becomes harder for families with low incomes. Food prices have only increased since 2021, making this program even more essential. Children in states like Kansas, Montana, Ohio, and Utah are going to benefit from Summer EBT in 2024—2 million Florida children should not be left out. There is still time to notify USDA that the state intends to participate in 2024. If not, the legislature must consider including appropriate direction to DCF this session for the state to participate in 2025.

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