More States Are Allowing SNAP Benefits To Extend To Online Grocery Ordering Amid Coronavirus

Photo credit: Smith Collection/Gado - Getty Images
Photo credit: Smith Collection/Gado - Getty Images

From Delish

The news around the COVID-19 outbreak is constantly changing, but information about food safety and how to keep yourself healthy is crucial right now. Here is a comprehensive list on the foods you should be stocking up on during this period of social distancing, as well as information about your local grocery stores’ changing hours, an explanation of “no-contact delivery,” and a guide on how to help your community and its businesses throughout closures.

As more and more people, particularly those in vulnerable populations, rely on grocery delivery amid the COVID-19 outbreak, states have expanded—or are looking to expand—the ability for people who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to get their groceries using delivery and online services, according to Food & Wine.

Last year, the USDA launched a two-year SNAP pilot program in New York State, which would allow SNAP recipients to pay for and order their groceries online. Amazon, Shoprite, and Walmart participated.

Since then, Washington state, Nebraska, Alabama, Iowa, and Oregon, have joined the pilot program, with the latter three joining just last month and Nebraska being added April 1 of this year. You can learn more about participating retailers and states on the pilot's homepage, but as the website says, "the best way to determine if grocery delivery is available for your location is to visit the retailer websites."

The page also states that it expects other states and retailers to join the pilot program, including Maryland and New Jersey. Amazon also tweeted that Alabama had been added to its SNAP online pilot program on March 30, but that info has yet to be added to the website.

As previously stated, ABC 8 in Nebraska also reported that The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services had started a SNAP pilot program as of April 1, with Amazon and Walmart participating. Walmart would start with two stores, while eventually expanding statewide, while Amazon was expecting to be able to deliver statewide at the beginning of the program.

Food & Wine reported that Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is also hoping to get Pennsylvania SNAP recipients access to online groceries and delivery. He sent a letter to the USDA and grocery trade associations saying as much.

California has also put in a request with the USDA for those residents who use CalFresh—which is the state's food stamps program—to be able to order groceries online, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

This situation is changing rapidly and can ultimately come down to a few individual factors as well, including specific locations, retailers nearby, and availability of online ordering slots. As more and more states and retailers get involved, you're encouraged to contact local retailers for their policies and there are a variety of more specific, crowdsourced examples, like this list from How To Get On.

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