On May 6, 2020

Vermont added to innovative SNAP online pilot program

USDA is expanding access to innovative online food purchase program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced, approval of a request from Vermont to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households April 24. This approval will allow the state to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers (a target start date to be announced at a later time).

Vermont’s SNAP participation is nearly 70,000 individuals, or 30,000 households, and totals nearly $100 million annually in federal funding.

The SNAP online pilot is currently operational in Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Washington state. The authorized retailers working with all pilot states are Amazon and Walmart. With these six states, more than half of all households receiving SNAP will have access to online purchasing.

Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is receiving interest to expand the SNAP online pilot program, the responsibility is on state agencies, their third-party processor, and any retailers who wish to participate. To ease the process, FNS put together a simplified template for states who wish to enter the online pilot.

Until states are prepared to operate the pilot, USDA recommends states utilize other options that retailers may already provide, such as “Pay at Pick-up” (also known as “Click and Collect”), where SNAP cardholders can shop online and then pay for their purchase using their EBT card at pick-up. Grocery pickup is already an option that these retailers offer beyond SNAP so they are already thinking through how they can provide a safe environment to do so with the growing concerns around social distancing.

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