Summer EBT in Nebraska 2024: Who, What, Where, When, Why & How

An example of a Nebraska Summer EBT card.

Questions about this summer’s brand new, hard won, Nebraska Summer EBT program are coming up more and more so we want to do our part to make sure people understand it! Find resources below to dig in:

Nebraska Appleseed and the Nebraska Department of Education hosted an informational webinar about Summer EBT in Nebraska on June 14. Click this link and use the passcode 9.0v=9ND to view the recording.

Jump to a section:
DHHS and NDE Resources
Eligibility and Application
Outreach Materials
Questions and Answers

Summer EBT (sometimes called SUN Bucks) is a new child nutrition program. It has been piloted in other states since 2011 and was found to improve food security and increase fruit & vegetable consumption among children. The program is designed to provide eligible kids with $120 each in benefits ($40 per eligible summer month) on a Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) card to replace some of the meals missed during summer months when schools are closed. 

State participation is optional but 37 states, several tribal nations, and all 5 US territories are participating for Summer 2024, the first year possible. Nebraska IS participating for Summer 2024!

Summer EBT is administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHS) and the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE). DHHS created a Summer EBT webpage with helpful information including program basics, eligibility, an outreach flyer in 9 languages, FAQs, the Summer EBT Application (and screener), and more.

To be eligible for Summer EBT, children must meet 2 criteria:

  1. Be enrolled in a National School Lunch Program (NSLP) school with access to NSLP meals (can include preschool and up to 12th grade) and 
  2. Qualify for Free or Reduced-price school meals in SY2023-24
    • Includes participants in SNAP, TANF, FDPIR, Medicaid, Foster care, Migrant
    • NOT include children who have NDE (state) ID because they receive services and do not come to school
    • Includes pre-K students who have access to school meals 

Some families, including some who attend Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools, will need to fill out an application to receive benefits. See DHHS’s helpful Summer EBT Application screening tool to make sure you won’t receive benefits automatically before filling out an application.

DHHS’s outreach flyer is succinct, generally user-friendly and is translated into 9 languages. Find links here: English Summer EBT Flyer / Arabic  / Burmese  / Chinese  / Karen  / Pashto  / Somali / Spanish / Vietnamese​ 

You can also share the link to the DHHS Summer EBT webpage. The English text on DHHS’s website can also be translated into many languages using the Google Translate function at the top right corner of the page.

Nebraska Appleseed created a Summer EBT Outreach Toolkit with several social media images and captions as well as a newsletter blurb / email in English and Spanish that can be helpful in spreading the word.

These Q&As are meant to supplement (but sometimes repeat) the DHHS Summer EBT FAQ PDF on DHHS’s page. Since it is a PDF, the FAQ document cannot be translated using Google Translate at the time of this writing.

How will cards be issued?

For each eligible child, $120 in benefits will be issued for summer 2024. If more than one child is confirmed to reside in the same household, benefits will be issued on the same card. However, due to staggered issuance by eligibility category (see below), this may mean some children, even within the same household, will receive benefits at a separate date and on a different card.

When will cards be issued and how long do I have to spend benefits?

See the chart below for issue and expungement dates. Summer EBT benefits must be spent within 122 days (a federally set timeframe) of issuance. Recipients must PIN their card and spend all benefits or the state must remove benefits following the expungement date.

SEBT Card IssuanceExpungement Date
May 28September 27, 2024
June 20October 20, 2024
July 19November 18, 2024
August 20December 20, 2024
September 10January 10, 2025

Why haven’t I gotten benefits for all of the eligible children in my household?

Cards are being issued by category of eligibility. The May issuance included all eligible students who participate in means-tested public benefits programs like SNAP, certain categories of Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, FDPIR, those who participate in Head Start, and those who are classified as homeless, migrant, and runaway. The June issuance will include all students who are eligible via Free or Reduced-price meal applications through their schools. The following months will include those who are eligible and have applied and those that may have been missed in earlier issuances.

Is it safe to apply if I’m undocumented or an immigrant?

Yes. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply and qualify for Summer EBT.

Applying for or receiving Summer EBT does NOT affect the immigration status of your children or family. It will NOT affect your ability to:

  • Remain in the United States
  • Get a Green Card/Permanent Legal Resident Status
  • Keep a Green Card/Permanent Legal Resident Status, or 
  • Become a U.S. Citizen

How can I get help with my individual issues?

Household questions, concerns, inquiries call DHHS at 800-383-4278 or email DHHS.SEBT@nebraska.gov and be able to provide: parent’s first and last name, address, phone number, email address, children’s first and last names and birthdates, school, school district, and summary of the issue.

Can I get Summer EBT and participate in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program’s free meals for kids ages 1-18?

Yes. Summer EBT benefits are supplemental to existing summer programs and families can make use of both.

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