SUN Bucks: A new program called SUN Bucks is available this summer to help families buy food when school is out.


HANCOCK COUNTY — A new program called SUN BUCKS is available this summer to help families buy food when school is out.

Last month, the state of Indiana announced that applications for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (SEBT) program, also known as SUN Bucks, are now open.

SUN Bucks is a new benefits program that provides families a one-time payment of $120 for each eligible school-aged child to help purchase groceries during the summer. This ensures that students continue to have access to healthy meals beyond the school year.

Children are eligible for the program if one of the following applies:

—The household already participates in SNAP, TANF, or income-based Medicaid;

—The student has been identified as a ward of the state (foster child), homeless, or migrant;

—The student attends a school that offers the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the household income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals.

The benefits will be provided to eligible families on a separate EBT card and mailed directly to their home. Benefits can be used at authorized retailers, like grocery stores and farmers markets, to purchase healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and other protein sources, whole grains and dairy. These benefits are available in addition to free meals that children of all ages can get at SUN Meals sites in their communities.

Most eligible families will receive these benefits automatically and local schools will communicate eligibility to parents and families. Some parents will need to apply. The following households need to complete the online SUN Bucks application:

Households with children attending a school operating the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), where all meals are free to students, and who have not been notified of automatic SUN Bucks eligibility.

Households with children attending a school operating NSLP who were not approved for free or reduced meals during the school year.

Households with children that do not attend a school operating NSLP and who receive SNAP, TANF, certain levels of income-based Medicaid, or are foster, migrant, or homeless.

SUN Bucks is funded by the state of Indiana and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Students who receive either free or reduced meal benefits may be automatically enrolled in the program. Parents of these students are asked to ensure their mailing address is up to date with the school to guarantee the benefit card is sent to the correct location.

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