New York State launches program to assist families with summer meals

USDA Sun logoIn summer 2024, New York will launch Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) or SUN Bucks, a new grocery benefits program that provides families $120 for each eligible school-aged child to buy groceries when school is out. Summer is a time when many children lose the free and reduced-price meals they get at school, and when households might need a little extra help putting meals on the table. Most families will get these benefits automatically, but some parents will need to apply.

Summer EBT benefits can be used just like SNAP benefits to buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other SNAP-authorized retailers.

Summer EBT food benefits will not be issued before July 2024. New York State is still working to finalize a timeline for when benefits will be issued. Eligible children will receive benefits at different times, depending on whether they attend public or private school, and whether they receive benefits automatically or if they are determined eligible through an application. Once benefits are issued, families will have 122 days from the date they are issued to use the benefits. All unused benefits expire after 122 days.

Benefits of Summer EBT/SUN Bucks:

  • Helps parents and caregivers buy healthy foods for their children.
  • Gives families the flexibility to select foods that fit their culture and lifestyle.
  • Improves food security and diet quality for participating children.


Children are eligible for the program if the household already participates in SNAP, FDPIR, TANF, etc. OR if the child attends a school that offers the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program and the household income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals.


Many families will get Summer EBT/SUN Bucks automatically if they are getting other benefits, but some families may need to apply.

  • If the household already participates in SNAP, FDPIR, TANF, etc. they will be automatically enrolled in the Summer EBT/SUN Bucks program. Households do not need to fill out an application.
  • If the household is not automatically enrolled and may be eligible, they can get Summer EBT/SUN Bucks by filling out a simple application.

Learn more about how to apply on the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) page of the state website. Online applications will be available by July 1, 2024.