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Eligible Vermont School Children to Receive Financial Support for Summer Meals

May 21, 2024

Berlin, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont agencies of Human Services and Education today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Vermont’s Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (SEBT) plan to help feed eligible school aged children during the summer vacation months. Vermont is among the first states to launch the new permanent SEBT program.

“I appreciate the work of our agencies of Education, Human Services and Digital Services to find a path forward with this program, and the USDA and our Congressional Delegation for helping us make this benefit available for kids this summer,” said Governor Scott. “I know Secretary Saunders and her team at AOE, and Commissioner Winters and his team at DCF, will make sure families and students benefit from this new program.”

This new benefit provides $120 per child, which families can use to purchase groceries. Some Vermont families will automatically qualify based on existing benefits, which will start being distributed on July 15. Other families who do not automatically qualify may still be eligible and will be able to apply in August. The Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Agency of Education (AOE) will be providing additional details on eligibility, application details and payment distribution timelines directly to schools and families in the coming weeks.

“Good nutrition is an essential element of learning,” said Interim Secretary of Education Zoie Saunders. “This program compliments the existing summer meals programs, providing another option for children who rely on school meals to access consistent nutrition over the summer months. I am glad that this program will provide extra support for families over the summer, which we know is a critical time for student learning retention and growth.”

DCF will work with the AOE to streamline the eligibility process. If a child is found eligible, a notice will be mailed to the household. Families who do not have an active EBT card will be mailed one with instructions on how to use it. Please keep the EBT cards as they will be used each summer for children who are eligible. The EBT card can be used at grocery stores, farmers markets and online where EBT is accepted. Notification and cards will be mailed to the address on file for the program that qualified the child automatically.

“Ensuring that children have access to nutritious food year-round is fundamental to their well-being.” said Secretary of Agency of Human Services Jenney Samuelson. “The launch of Vermont’s Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program demonstrates the agency’s commitment to supporting families and helping children thrive, especially during the summer months when children do not have access to school-provided meals. This is a vital step in addressing food insecurity.”

For additional information, including specific eligibility criteria, visit Application details will be available in August.