Food & Income Security

Headline:

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded, state-administered program providing free meals and snacks to children up to age 18 at sites nationwide.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Aug. 3, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • With the passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act, schools will continue to provide universal free lunch through the summer and P-EBT to eligible families during the summer.
  • Meals on Wheels America is providing nutritional support to homebound seniors. Find a state/local nutrition program site.
  • Many Social Security offices are open for walk-in service. Check the status of a local office on the SSA website. Due to long in-person wait times, the SSA advises people to complete services online or by calling a local office whenever possible. 
  • For students to receive free or reduced-price school meals during the 2022-23 school year, families in most school districts must submit an application through their child’s school and be found eligible.

The Breakdown

  • The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded, state-administered program that provides free meals and snacks to children up to age 18 at sites around the country. Click here for more information and to find an SFSP site.
  • Families seeking food assistance for their children can also contact the USDA National Hunger Hotline, Monday – Friday between 7am and 10pm EST at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479).
  • In most school districts, families will need to complete an application through their child’s school to determine if their household is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the 2022-23 school year. For FAQs on school meals in the 2022-23 school year, click here.
  • The US continues to import baby formula from overseas to alleviate the nationwide baby formula shortage. President Biden also authorized the Defense Production Act and signed bipartisan legislation to improve access to baby formula for families who receive WIC. USDA is also looking into make it possible for WIC recipients to use their benefits online. Visit this site for helpful information for families.
  • WIC program participants can contact their state or local WIC agency with questions about infant formula benefits.
  • During the pandemic, free credit reports are available online weekly. For more information, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Individuals and families who did not receive the 2021 Economic Impact Payment (EIP) can request the payment when they file their 2021 taxes. Visit the IRS website for additional information.
  • Eligible households will receive the 2021 Child Tax Credit of $3,600 for every child under 6 or $3,000 for every child ages 6 to 17. Visit ChildTaxCredit.gov for additional information.
  • The IRS mailed two important letters to families who received the advance child tax credit and the economic impact payment. “Letter 6419, 2021 Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC)” will verify how much the household received in advance CTC payments in 2021 and the number of qualifying children used by the IRS to determine these payments. “Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment (EIP)” will include information to help EIP recipients determine whether they should claim the recovery rebate credit on their 2021 tax returns.
  • Some taxpayers may qualify for free tax return preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and AARP programs. Find locations on the IRS website. They may also qualify for free e-filing until October 17, 2022. Find information on the IRS website.
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible households with a $30/month discount on internet services. Twenty leading internet providers are offering ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30/month. So eligible families can use their ACP benefit with one of these plans to receive high-speed internet at no cost.
  • Any household that receives WIC or whose income is below 200% FPL can apply for ACP benefits through their internet service provider. For additional information, visit the Common Sense guide or getinternet.gov.
  • The SSA is prioritizing in-person appointments for people who are applying for a social security number and applicants who must go without necessities (e.g., food or shelter) until they get benefits. The best way to contact the SSA is through the online portal or a kiosk in a local office.
  • SSA has re-issued two Emergency Messages (EMs), clarifying that pandemic-related financial assistance is excluded indefinitely from SSI counting. Read the EMs here and here.
  • State SNAP distributors must take away any benefits that have remained unused on SNAP EBT and P-EBT accounts for 9 months (274 days).
  • The Keep Kids Fed Act extends universal free school lunch through the summer. For information on a specific state’s implementation of this program, check that state’s department of education.
  • All school children who received free or reduced-price meals during the 2021-2022 school year in the states listed here are eligible for P-EBT benefits during summer 2022. SNAP-enrolled children under 6 are also eligible for P-EBT summer benefits while the federal COVID-19 public health emergency remains in place. (The PHE was recently extended through October 13, 2022.)
  • Schools are required to follow new nutritional standards set by the USDA. For additional information visit the USDA.
  • People can find updated dietary guidelines, shopping guides, and recipes at myplate.gov.
  • Since January 1, 2022, minimum wages have gone up in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The Federal minimum wage remains $7.25/hour, unchanged since 2009. For more information, view the Economic Policy Institute’s Minimum Wage Tracker.

The Bottom Line

  • Sharing reliable, up-to-date information about the changing resource landscape with families is key to optimizing household income and increasing food stability.