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Applications now open for Sun Bucks, a new summer food benefit for Pa. families

 Sealed oranges, apples and grapes sit on a table.
Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA

Applications are open for Sun Bucks, a new, federally funded, food-assistance program for children.

More than 1.2 million children in Pennsylvania will qualify for the aid, state officials said.

Also known as Summer EBT, the benefits of $120 per child will be transmitted electronically via a debit card, similar to the SNAP program, which is sometimes called food stamps.

“Summer is a time when many children do not have access to the free and reduced-price meals they get during the school year, and families might need a little extra help putting healthy meals on the table,” said Pennsylvania Human Services Secretary Val Arkoosh in a statement.

“The new Sun Bucks program will provide eligible households with critical dollars to help bridge the gap during the summer to ensure that Pennsylvania children are fed and thriving while school is closed," she said.

Most households that are eligible for the program will be enrolled automatically and will not have to do anything to apply.

Families who are eligible already receive a benefit such as SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid, or if they applied for and were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

A small number of families are eligible but will not be automatically enrolled, primarily those whose children attend a school where all students receive free or reduced-price school meals under the Community Eligibility Provision, but the family does not meet the automatic eligibility criteria.

Families who are automatically eligible should see the funds electronically deposited by mid-August. All benefits will be issued by the end of October, state officials said.

More Sun Bucks information, including an application, is available online. You can see if your child is eligible here.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at kgiammarise@wesa.fm or 412-697-2953.