While EBT online shopping is not yet available to all participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the 2014 Farm Bill proposed a plan to create an online pilot program for qualifying SNAP beneficiaries.
As part of the pilot, places that accept EBT online will include major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. The pilot program is not yet available, and it will not benefit SNAP participants in all states, but the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects to launch the program sometime in 2019.
Households may order food online with EBT cards once the program launches, as long as they live in a participating region. However, SNAP beneficiaries must continue to follow all program rules and regulations, and they will only be able to purchase eligible food items. Additionally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for delivery fees. To learn more about using an EBT card to shop online, review the information below.
Customers cannot buy food online with EBT cards at this time, but the 2014 Farm Bill proposed a pilot program that will make this possible in the near future. As part of this pilot program, SNAP beneficiaries will be able to place online orders for qualifying food items and pay for their groceries with a valid EBT card, just as they would if they were shopping in a store. However, the same rules and restrictions apply, and customers may only purchase eligible food items that are meant to be prepared at home. Unless exempt from this requirement, SNAP beneficiaries may not purchase hot foods or restaurant meals. Additionally, they may not purchase prohibited items such as alcohol or tobacco products.
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Through this EBT online shopping pilot program, SNAP beneficiaries who are aged, disabled, or housebound will be able to purchase groceries more easily, even if they cannot visit a store or farmers market. To make the program safe, secure and as easy as possible to use, however, several retailers are working to enhance their systems, and online ordering will not be available until these system enhancements are complete.
Several places will accept EBT online once the pilot program launches in 2019. These retailers include major names such as Amazon, Hy-Vee, Safeway and Walmart, as well as other participants such as Dash’s Market, FreshDirect, Hart’s Local Grocers, ShopRight and Wright’s Markets. However, online EBT shopping will only be available in several states during phase one of this pilot program. These states include Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington. For instance:
Once the pilot program launches, additional information and specific ordering instructions will become available.
While SNAP online shopping is not yet available as part of the Farm Bill’s pilot program, qualifying households may order food online if they participate in a grocery delivery service such as Fresh Direct or Schwann’s, or they purchase food items from retailers such as Walmart. When ordering food online, however, customers need to pay in person, and they may need to comply with additional rules and regulations, depending on the store’s policy. Additionally, many online services for SNAP beneficiaries are only available in certain parts of the U.S.
To order food online with EBT cards, it is important to keep these tips in mind:
When ordering food online with food stamps, SNAP beneficiaries must use an alternate form of payment to cover any delivery, convenience or service fees. An EBT card cannot be used to pay for these delivery fees, as SNAP benefits may only be used to pay for eligible food items. Therefore, customers must use cash or another credit or debit card to pay any delivery or convenience fees.
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