The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announced that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants will be able to select and pay for their groceries online during a two-year test in New York State.
SNAP participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items, but will not be able to use SNAP benefits to pay for service or delivery charges.
“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food — by ordering and paying for groceries online,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients.”
The pilot phase is intended to ensure online transactions are processed safely and securely.
ShopRite and Amazon will deliver to the New York City area, and Walmart will cover upstate New York. The USDA said FreshDirect, Safeway, Hy-Vee and Dash’s Market will join the New York pilot, and the test will eventually expand to other parts of New York, as well as Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.
The USDA said it anticipates all eligible and interested retailers who can meet the requirements to process online SNAP transactions will eventually be able to take part, though the timeline is dependent on the progress of the pilot and any regulations which may need to be issued.