Summer EBT

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) will participate in the Summer EBT Program (also known as "SUN Bucks").

IDHS will continue to make updates to this page.

Summer EBT 2024 - What to expect

What is Summer EBT?

Summer EBT is a one-time food benefit provided to eligible families with school-aged children to help with groceries during the summer months.

Who is eligible?

A child is eligible for Summer EBT without an application if they meet one of the following requirements:

  • The child's date of birth is between July 2, 2005 and August 31, 2018 AND they received SNAP, TANF, State food, VTTC Cash (TANF), Foster Care or Medicaid (income under 185% FPL) any time between July 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024; or
  • The child attended a school that participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) during the 2023-2024 school year and was deemed income-eligible to receive a free or reduced-price lunch through direct certification or an application at the school.

A child that does not meet one of the requirements above can apply for Summer EBT if they are attending a NSLP school during the 2023-2024 school year and believe they meet the income threshold.

Note: Families should contact their school while school is in session to find out how to apply if they do not meet one of the requirements above. A Summer EBT only application will be available over the summer for families who wish to apply after the school year has ended. The Summer EBT application will be processed through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Income Requirements

To be eligible for Summer EBT, total household income must be at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. Households submitting Summer EBT applications will be required to verify that total monthly income does not exceed 185%.

NOTE:  2024 Family Health Plans Monthly Income Standards 185% is represented by the last column in the table.

Citizenship Requirement

There are no citizenship requirements. Summer EBT will not be considered under the public charge rule.

Confirming Eligibility

After June 26, 2024,  will feature a Summer EBT Screener which can be used to check whether IDHS has all the information needed for a child(ren) to process Summer EBT without an additional application and to review address on file.

When benefits are issued, a Notice of Summer EBT Eligibility will be mailed to households that will detail the eligible children, amount and availability of the issuances.

NOTE: All families expecting Summer EBT benefits should be encouraged to verify all information using the Summer EBT Screener after June 26, 2024. Additional information on Screener functionality is forthcoming.

When will Summer EBT benefits be available?

Summer EBT issuances are planned to be created at the end of August 2024/beginning of September 2024. Exact availability dates have not been determined.

Summer EBT Amounts

Families will receive a one-time benefit of $120 for each eligible child to purchase groceries for your household. Benefits can only be used to purchase food for your household.

How will Summer EBT benefits be authorized?

For families who received food and/or cash benefits from IDHS during the 2023/2024 school year, Summer EBT benefits will be directly loaded onto the food portion of their existing Link account. If the families' Link card is no longer active or the family has never received food or cash benefits, a new card will be mailed. The notice of Summer EBT Eligibility will contain details on how to access the Link account for households that do not currently receive food and/or cash.

Will Summer EBT benefits expire?

Summer EBT benefits must be used within 122 days from the availability date. Any remaining balances will not be available after 122 days.

How to use Summer EBT benefits?

Summer EBT benefits are used like SNAP or P-EBT Benefits. Customers can use their EBT card at a SNAP authorized retailer to purchase SNAP authorized items. Once they swipe or enter their card number, they should select EBT as the form of payment, and the Food/SNAP portion of the account. Additional information below:

Where will Summer EBT cards be mailed?

Cards will be mailed to the address on file. The address on file will be the address associated with the program that was used to determine the child's eligibility for Summer EBT (address on file with the school or the IDHS case).

NOTE: Customers should be directed to check the Summer EBT Screener on or after June 26, 2024 to verify the address on file.

Individuals who do not want to participate in Summer EBT

Customers will have the opportunity to "opt out" of the program by visiting the Summer EBT website or by calling the Summer EBT Hotline after June 26th, 2024.

Summer EBT and Free Summer Meal Programs

Children can get Summer EBT even if the child is getting free meals at school, camp, or other places this summer.

Illinois will continue to offer summer food programs throughout the state. Please see Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) press release for more information on summer food programs for children.

During the summer months, families in need of meals should contact their school if they have questions about available meal services. Families can also call 1-800-359-2163, text "FOOD" (or "COMIDA") to 304-304, 04 view the USDA Summer Meals for Kids Site Finder to find nearby meal sites not located at their school that are open to all children and youth ages 18 and younger. ISBE partners with the Illinois Hunger Coalition and No Kid Hungry to operate the hotline and text service.

The State is utilizing and will continue to utilize its various partners across agencies and outside entities, such as food banks, to connect eligible families with these benefits. One example is through informational sharing with school districts, including webinars.