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Frequently asked questions about Summer EBT

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Summer EBT helps families purchase healthy food for the months in which students are not in school. Expand the sections below for answers to frequently asked questions about Summer EBT.

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What is Summer EBT?

Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) is a new program created to help families purchase healthy food for the months in which students are not in school. Summer EBT provides $40 per eligible child per summer month when schools are closed. Families receive a single $120 lump-sum payment on pre-loaded cards that can be spent on eligible food purchases. 

Who is eligible for Summer EBT?

A student may be eligible if:

  • They attended a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program and are eligible for free or reduced-price meals; or
  • Their family receives SNAP or Colorado Works. You may be eligible through Medicaid if your income is within the NSLP guidelines.
How much will I receive?

The benefit is $40 per child per summer month when schools are closed. Eligible children will receive $120 as a single lump-sum payment to cover the months of June-August.

How do I get Summer EBT?

Make sure your student’s school — or SNAP, Colorado Works or Medicaid case — has the correct mailing address on file. Families with eligible children will be mailed a notice of eligibility for each individual child. Here are examples of eligibility notices:

When will my child receive Summer EBT?

Colorado will begin distributing Summer EBT benefits in mid-summer of 2024.

How do I access my child's Summer EBT benefits?

Students who are eligible for Summer EBT benefits receive funds on a Summer EBT card. New cards can take 30-45 days to arrive through the mail for newly eligible students.

What does the Summer EBT card look like?

Here is an example of a Summer EBT card.

Example of a Summer EBT card
What can I purchase with Summer EBT benefits?

Families can use Summer EBT funds to purchase foods based on their dietary needs and preferences from retailers in their communities. Eligible food items include:

  • Breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meats, fish and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat
  • Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers and ice cream
  • Seafood, steak and bakery cakes
  • Coffee
Can I use my Summer EBT card in another state?

You can use your Summer EBT card at any authorized retail location in the U.S. that displays the EBT or Quest logo. Colorado may block transactions in certain cities/states if fraud is detected, and you may be required to call to have your card unlocked for those locations.

What if my child is younger than 6, older than 18, and/or being homeschooled?

Children who are eligible for Summer EBT are those who attend a school that participates in the Nation School Lunch Program (NSLP) and meet the NSLP income guidelines. Participating schools may include pre-K; Head Start; and elementary, middle and high schools. Students over the age of 18 may be eligible if they are determined to be mentally or physically disabled and attending an NSLP school.

Students who are not automatically eligible to receive Summer EBT include are those who:

  • Are not enrolled in an NSLP-participating school
  • Are being homeschooled
  • Are engaged in virtual learning

However, these students may be eligible if:

  • They are at least 6 years old on or before Aug. 1 of the current school year; 
  • They are under the age of 17; and
  • Their family receives SNAP, Colorado Works benefits or Medicaid. (Eligibility through Medicaid must also meet the NSLP income guidelines.)
Do preschool students qualify for Summer EBT?

Yes, if preschoolers attend a school participating in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program and qualify based on free or reduced-price eligibility status or direct certification, then they are able to receive benefits.

Does it matter if my student is enrolled in a charter, public or private school?

No. However, your child must be 6 years old on or before Aug. 1 of the current school year, and under the age of 17 while receiving SNAP or Colorado Works. They may be eligible via Medicaid if they also meet the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) income guidelines.

Also, if your child's charter, public or private school participates in NSLP, they may be eligible. Contact the Summer EBT Support Center at 1.800.536.5298 to find out whether your school participates in NSLP.

Will my student still qualify if they switched schools during the school year? What do I need to do?

Yes, they may still qualify. Your student's Summer EBT eligibility is based on the timing of enrollment in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program. No action is needed by the household; all enrollment data is submitted to the Summer EBT program by your school or district.

If a student is currently not attending an NSLP school but was at some point in the last school year, are they able to qualify?

Students who have been enrolled in a school participating in the National School Lunch Program at any point during the current school year qualify for Summer EBT benefits.

Custody for my student is split between two households. How does my student receive Summer EBT?

The Summer EBT benefit is meant for the student; the Summer EBT card is issued in the student’s name and is meant to travel with the student between households. For the first issuance of Summer EBT school enrollment benefits, the student’s benefits will be issued in care of the parent or guardian who is listed as head of household by the student’s school. This may be the adult who submitted a free and reduced application for the student, or the adult listed as the primary contact in the school’s system. Please work with any other guardians and coordinate to support the student that the benefits are intended for.

How do I find out who the current guardian on file for my student is?

The current guardian on file reflects the most recent information submitted to the Summer EBT program by your student’s school or district. This is typically the parent or guardian who is listed as “head of household.” It may also be the adult who submitted a free or reduced-price meal application for the student, or the adult listed as the primary contact in the school’s system, depending on the school’s data. Guardians of Summer EBT-eligible students should receive an eligibility notice for their student in the mail.

Guardians can confirm they are the currently listed contact for a student by contacting the Summer EBT Support Center. Please note that the Summer EBT program cannot share case specifics or confirm any case information (including guardianship) with any individual who is not the currently listed guardian.

Changes can only be made to the parent/guardian on file if:

  • The current parent/guardian on file requests to designate a different parent/guardian and provides updated contact information (new guardian name and mailing address); or 
  • The parent/guardian on file with the Summer EBT program is deceased, medically incapacitated, or incarcerated. 

Please note these are the only situations in which the parent/guardian on file can be adjusted.

Contact the Summer EBT Support Center for case-specific information:

Are children who are not yet enrolled in school eligible for Summer EBT?

A child who was not yet enrolled in school during the 2023-24 school year may be eligible if: 

  • They were born on or after Aug. 1, 2018; and
  • Their family is receiving SNAP, Colorado Works or Medicaid
Will there be Summer EBT benefits past 2024?

Yes. Summer EBT is a permanent program.

If my student didn’t receive any Summer EBT benefits but I feel they should have, what do I do?

The Summer EBT program distributes all benefits based on the data received from schools and districts. Contact the Summer EBT Support Center to discuss your student's eligibility:

Please review the "Do I need to apply?" FAQ section. If you do not meet those criteria, then you may be eligible to submit an SEBT application.

If families have questions about eligibility, who should schools and districts refer them to?

Questions regarding eligibility should be referred to the Support Center: 

What is the opt-out procedure?

Families will receive a notice letter included with their card or mailed to them as part of auto-issuance which will include instructions for destroying the card and opting out of the benefits should they wish to decline. 

Do I need to apply to receive Summer EBT?

Most people do not need to apply for Summer EBT. In most cases, eligible students will automatically receive benefits. The following should help you determine whether you should apply.

You do not need to apply if:

  • Your child currently receives free or reduced-price school meals from a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program; or
  • Your family receives SNAP, Colorado Works or Medicaid (eligibility through Medicaid must also meet the NSLP income guidelines); or
  • Your child is a ward of the court or a foster child.

You may want to apply if:

  • You are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, SNAP or Colorado Works but are not enrolled in those programs; or
  • You are eligible for Medicaid within NSLP guidelines but are not enrolled.

You may call the Summer EBT Support Center at 800.536.5298 to discuss eligibility before applying. The Support Center can help determine eligibility and submit an application on your behalf.

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Contact information

Contact the Summer EBT Support Center if you have questions. The operating hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.