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DHHS Summer EBT Program Plan Approved by USDA | 1340 KGFW

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, with thanks

LINCOLN – The federal Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) plan to implement the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program. USDA officials commended DHHS for the multiple points of contact included in the plan to ensure Nebraska families receive the services they need during the summer months.

“These programs are critical to ensuring that children in our state receive nutritious, consistent meals during the months they are out of school,” said Dr. Steve Corsi, CEO of DHHS. “Our children are our future, and we must make sure they are taken care of.”

Eligible families will receive $120 per child during the summer term. An estimated 175,000 students, or 80,000 households, will be eligible for summer EBT benefits.

“I am thrilled to announce that Nebraska was the fourth state in the nation to be approved and the first to be approved in the Mountain Plains Region,” said Shannon Grotrian, director of the Office of Economic Assistance (OEA). “The results of this collaboration between Governor Jim Pillen, DHHS and the Nebraska Department of Education (BDE) demonstrate the passion that went into this plan to ensure our children’s needs are met this summer.”

In addition to issuing the cards, the Summer EBT program will include multiple contact moments in the coming months, including:

Educational information about the types of nutritious foods parents can buy for their children with Summer EBT cards;
DHHS sends text messages to families with a brief survey to help identify additional needs or resources; And
Trained staff follow up personally to assess any other needs and determine what resources can benefit families.
“USDA is pleased that Nebraska has chosen to operate Summer EBT this year,” said Cheryl Kennedy, regional administrator of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). “We are impressed that the state’s plan includes a range of services to reach children, as well as strong community outreach. This will be a great benefit to the children of Nebraska.”

In addition to DHHS utilizing Summer EBT and built-in points of contact into its plan, NDE will also administer the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides free meals to children ages 1 through 18 at nearly 300 locations across Nebraska. No applications or paperwork are required to receive meals from approved locations. Most SFSP locations will begin offering meals the first week of June. Text FOOD or COMIDA to 304-304 to receive information about local SFSP sites.

“NDE is pleased to partner with DHHS to offer the Summer EBT program to households of eligible students,” said Dr. Brian Maher, Commissioner of Education. “The work of dedicated NDE staff demonstrates our commitment to preparing all Nebraskans to learn, earn and live by helping to establish the Summer EBT program to strengthen nutritional security for children. Our partnership with DHHS will have a positive impact for students statewide.”

School-age children who are income eligible can receive summer EBT benefits. This includes:

School-age children participating in the following public assistance programs:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);

Aid to Dependent Children (ADC);

Indian Reservations Food Distribution Program (FDPIR); or

Children on Medicaid with a family income below 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

School-age children eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School

Breakfast Program (SBP) based on the following statuses: Participation in Head Start; Homeless people; To feed; Migrants; or ran away.

School-age children who have already been approved for free or reduced-price meals by completing a school meal application; And

School-age children enrolled in a school that participates in NSLP/SBP, who are not yet eligible, and have been determined to be eligible for income through a Summer EBT application, which will be available after June 1.

If a child meets the first three criteria above, they do not need to complete a summer EBT application. Their benefits will be issued on a Summer EBT card and sent to the address provided by the student’s school or maintained by DHHS for public assistance participants.

Homeschooled school-age children who are not receiving government benefits are not eligible for summer EBT benefits since they are not attending an NSLP/SBP school.

Once received and activated, a Summer EBT card can be used like any other EBT card. Summer EBT benefits can be used at approved SNAP retailers such as grocery stores and convenience stores to purchase eligible food. For a list of retailers, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailer-locator.

For more information about Summer EBT and SFSP, visit https://dhhs.ne.gov/SummerEBT. More information about benefits will be shared this summer as implementation continues