How to Shop Online with Food Stamps

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.

What is the SNAP online shopping pilot program?

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.

Related Article: What can I buy with food stamps?

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.

Where can I buy food online with EBT cards?

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:

  • Customers may place orders through Amazon if they live in New York, Maryland or New Jersey.
  • SNAP beneficiaries may order food from FreshDirect, Hart’s Local Grocers and Dash’s Market if they live in New York. However, FreshDirect is only available to those who live in certain parts of the Bronx, while Hart’s Local Grocers only provides residents of Rochester with these services. To order food online with EBT from places such as Dash’s Market, customers must live in Buffalo.
  • EBT cardholders who wish to order food online from Safeway must live in Washington, Maryland or Oregon.
  • Customers may place an order through Hy-Vee’s website if they live in Iowa.
  • Food stamp recipients may order food online from ShopRite if they reside in Pennsylvania, Maryland or New Jersey.

Once the pilot program launches, additional information and specific ordering instructions will become available.

Can you buy groceries online with EBT cards?

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:

  • SNAP beneficiaries may only order food through FreshDirect if they live in select Bronx zip codes. These zip codes include 10455 and 10454. When ordering food online with EBT, customers must also select “EBT” as their payment option. Then, customers must swipe their EBT cards during the time of delivery.
  • To shop online with food stamps at Walmart, customers may place an online order for select food items, but they must select “pay with cash” as their payment option. Then, they must visit a store to pay in person with an EBT card, as their order will not ship until they visit a Walmart register to pay. However, the EBT card can only be used to pay for eligible food items.
  • To participate in Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup service, SNAP participants must live near certain parts of Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. Then, customers simply need to select their groceries online and pay with their EBT card when they pick up their food items. If SNAP recipients cannot locate an Online Grocery Pickup service within their zip code, they may contact the retailer to let them know that they would like to use this service in their area.
  • When ordering food online from Schwan’s, customers must choose the “deliver to my door” option when selecting their delivery preferences. After ordering food online with SNAP benefits, customers must present their EBT card when the sales representative delivers the groceries to their door.

When you order food online with food stamps, who pays the delivery fee?

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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