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Summer EBT: Food Benefits for Eligible Children During the Summer Months

Summer EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) is an income-based program that helps families who qualify buy food for their children while school is out. Wisconsin will send $120 in benefits for each eligible school-age child automatically at the end of June. Some families may need to apply for Summer EBT if we don’t have enough information.

Receiving Summer EBT will not affect your family or child's immigration status.

 Stay up to date

If you are interested in getting updates about the Summer EBT program, bookmark this page! You can also sign up to get emails.

The main issuance of Summer EBT benefits occurred on Saturday, June 22, 2024. With the help of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) identified almost 425,000 eligible children throughout Wisconsin. In total, DHS issued over $50 million to about 235,000 eligible families that we had information for.

Over the summer, if we get information showing other children are eligible or contact information for families that may have been missing, we will issue benefits. We will send these benefits out every two weeks until mid-September.

 Getting Summer EBT

If you applied for Summer EBT after June 1, we are working to review these applications now. If your application is approved, we will send you the benefits in an upcoming issuance.

Due to the number of requests the Summer EBT team is getting, they are unable to check the status of an application right now. The team is working to review all applications as soon as possible. If you have applied for Summer EBT, we will send you information once a final decision is made.

If your application is approved, you will be sent a letter telling you about the benefits. If your application is denied, you will get an email that will tell you why it was denied and what you can do if you want to appeal the decision. If there are any issues with your application, or if we need more information to complete our review, we will reach out to you directly through the email or phone number you gave when you applied.

If you did not already have a QUEST or Pandemic EBT card for us to load benefits onto, you will be sent a new card in the mail. Please allow up to 10 business days for the card to be delivered after we issue the benefits.

If you think your child should have gotten Summer EBT benefits and you did not get them, we might just not have the information we need to know if they qualify.

If your child met requirements to get benefits automatically, but did not get them, we may just not have the right contact information for you. To make sure we have the most up-to-date information for your family, you can send us that information through the Benefit Management Tool. If we just needed that updated information, we will send you the benefits as soon as we are able to once we get that information.

If your child did not meet requirements to get Summer EBT, you could apply for one of the qualifying assistance programs.

If your family is approved for one or more of these programs by August 29, 2024, your child may also be eligible to get Summer EBT in 2024. You can learn more about these and other state benefit programs by calling 211, visiting the ACCESS website, or by contacting your local or tribal agency.

If your child went to a school that was part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the 2023-2024 school year, you can apply for Summer EBT directly. If you choose to apply, you will be asked for information on all adults and children in your household, your household’s income level, and specific information about the schools your child or children attend. After you apply, DHS will review the information you sent in. Once a decision on your child’s benefits is made, we will send you a letter telling you if your child will be getting Summer EBT benefits. You must apply by August 29, 2024.

If you have any questions about your child’s eligibility, you can email the Summer EBT team at dhssebtsupport@wi.gov or call 833-431-2224.

Yes. If we get their information by August 29, 2024, and we find that they qualify for Summer EBT, we will still send the benefits. Over the summer, we will be sending benefits to eligible families if we get new information that their child or children qualify for Summer EBT. These issuances will be ongoing until the end of September.

We will email you when a decision has been made about your child’s benefits, or if we need more information from you. Also, if your application was approved, we will send you a letter. This letter will tell you that your child was approved. If you have more than one child, the letter will list who is approved to get benefits, and the total benefit amount you will be sent.

We will send you your child’s benefits during our next planned issuance of benefits. If you have not gotten your child’s benefits within three weeks of when their application was approved, please email our Summer EBT Support Team at dhssebtsupport@wi.gov or call 833-431-2224.

Children who were homeschooled or enrolled in a virtual school for the 2023-2024 school year were only eligible to get Summer EBT if they were both:

  • Born on or between July 1, 2005, and August 29, 2018.
  • Participating in a qualifying benefit program.

The qualifying benefit programs include FoodShare, Wisconsin Works (W-2), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or an income-based Medicaid program.

If your child did not meet those requirements, then they were not qualified to get Summer EBT. If you are interested in seeing if they could still get Summer EBT, you could apply for one of the qualifying benefit programs. If your child meets the age requirements and you are approved for one of the programs by August 29, 2024, they will automatically be sent benefits.

If your child did meet the requirements to qualify for Summer EBT but did not get the benefits, please email the Summer EBT team at dhssebtsupport@wi.gov or call 833-431-2224 so we can see why they might not have been sent benefits.

Children qualified for Summer EBT if their application to get free or reduced price meals at their National School Lunch Program (NSLP) school during the 2023-2024 school year was approved.

A child could also have qualified if they were part of a household that participated in one of the following programs during some or all the 2023-2024 school year:

If a child did not go to an NSLP school, but were in one of the programs listed above, they must have been born on or between July 1, 2005, and August 29, 2018, to qualify.

The table below shows the income limits (effective July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025) for Summer EBT. They are the same ones used for the National School Lunch Program. Your household’s total income must be the same or less than the amount shown for your household size. Note: These income limits will change on July 1, 2025.

Income eligibility guidelines for July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025
Household SizeYearly Income ($)Monthly Income($)Weekly Income($)
127,8612,322536
237,8143,152728
347,7673,981919
457,7204,8101,110
567,6735,6401,320
677,6266,4691,493
787,5797,2991,685
897,5328,1281,876
9107,4858,9582,068
10117,4389,7882,260
11127,39110,6182,452
12137,34411,4482,644
Add this amount for each
additional household member
9,953830192

Children who qualify because their application for free or reduced price meals was approved by their NSLP school can be any age.

If your child did not go to an NSLP school but your household participated in one of the qualifying programs for some or all of the 2023-2024 school year, they must have been born on or between July 1, 2005, and August 29, 2018, in order to get Summer EBT.

 Using Summer EBT

Your Summer EBT benefits can be used wherever FoodShare benefits are accepted. This includes most grocery stores, many convenience stores, some farmers markets, and certain online retailers. You can use the benefits to buy food items, including:

  • Bread and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Snack foods

See a detailed list of items you can and cannot buy with your benefits.

Once the $120 in benefits is added to your EBT card, you have 122 days (about 4 months) to use them. Any benefits that you have not used after that time will be removed from your card. You will get reminders in the mail before we remove any benefits from your card.

Please remember that you cannot give your EBT card to someone else. It is illegal to sell, trade, or give your Summer EBT benefits to another person.

Your Summer EBT benefits will be put onto an EBT card that works like a debit card. If you already have a QUEST card or a P-EBT card from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will put your Summer EBT benefits on that card, if your child is eligible. If you do not already have an EBT card, we will mail you a new QUEST card.

To check the balance on your card, go to the ebtEDGE website or use the ebtEDGE mobile app. If you lose your card, call QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164.

Once the $120 in benefits is added to your EBT card, you have 122 days (about 4 months) to use them. Any benefits that you have not used after that time will be removed from your card. You will get reminders in the mail before we remove any benefits from your card.

Please remember that you cannot give your EBT card to someone else. It is illegal to sell, trade, or give your Summer EBT benefits to another person.

Yes. If your child gets Summer EBT benefits, they can still participate in other summer meal programs. Two programs like this are the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option. To learn more about meal sites near you, visit wisummerfood.org or call 211. You can also text ‘food’ to 304-304.

 Appeals

You have the right to request a fair hearing. A fair hearing allows you to tell why you think there has been a wrong decision about your application or benefits. At the hearing, a hearing officer will hear from you and the agency. They will then determine if the decision was right or wrong. You may bring a friend or family member with you to the hearing.

To request a fair hearing, you will need to send either a fair hearing request form or a letter asking for a hearing to the Division of Hearings & Appeals, PO Box 7875, Madison, WI 53707. You can also fax it to 608-264-9885.

You may be able to get free legal help for the hearing. To learn more about legal help, call 888-278-0633

 Resources

Summer EBT flyer, P-03603

Summer EBT Benefit Management Tool

Summer EBT Application

Summer Food Service Program

 Wisconsin's Summer EBT Plan

DHS prepared a plan for Summer EBT for this year with the support of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). The plan details who is eligible, and how benefits will be sent to eligible children. DHS was the first state in the nation to have their plan approved by the United States Department of Agriculture for the summer of 2024.

Download Wisconsin’s Summer EBT plan for the summer of 2024 (PDF).

Glossary

 
Last revised July 3, 2024