USDA SNAP Launches Online Purchasing Pilot Program

Participants May Buy Groceries Online in New York

For the first time, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants will be able to select and pay for their groceries online, during a two-year pilot launched today in New York State. In making the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue highlighted online purchasing’s potential, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commitment to program integrity by looking carefully at the pilot. Lessons learned from this pilot are expected to inform future efforts to expand online purchasing in SNAP.

“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. 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,” Secretary Perdue said.

Amazon and Walmart will participate in the initial pilot launch today with ShopRite joining early next week. ShopRite and Amazon are providing service to the New York City area and Walmart is providing online service in upstate New York locations. Additional retailers are slated to participate in the pilot in coming months.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued the following statement regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot Program, which was launched today in New York State by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This pilot program has the potential to dramatically diminish food deserts while also increasing choice and lowering costs for some of our most vulnerable, food-insecure communities. Shoppers will now be able to use their SNAP benefits to shop for food at certain online vendors, just like they would use a credit or debit card. This pilot program could lead to lower prices and greater options for all New Yorkers.

“My office has been working with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney other partners at all levels to facilitate this program for several years, and I am happy to see it implemented. I look forward to working with the USDA, vendors, hunger advocates and other stakeholders to examine this pilot program as it moves forward and to improve access to healthy foods to all communities,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The system is developed to allow online purchasing only by SNAP households with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards issued by New York for this start of the online pilot project. Online retailers will be limited to delivery in the pilot areas in New York only. Information regarding expansion will be available after this launch is determined successful and other pilot states indicate their readiness to implement.

FreshDirect is currently one of the participants with state and federal agencies in testing a pilot program that will deliver fresh food and groceries to select Bronx ZIP codes for customers using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. FreshDirect’s EBT pilot program is presently restricted to delivery addresses in two ZIP codes in the Bronx: 10454 and 10455.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat.

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