Amazon announced today that online grocery shopping for people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is now available in 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Toward the end of May, the USDA had announced that it was expanding the online SNAP purchasing program to 36 states, which it said would cover 90 percent of SNAP participants. In addition to wider availability, the USDA press release said, “Soon more SNAP authorized retailers, under multiple store banners, will be accepting SNAP benefits online.”
Amazon seems to be first out of the gate to announce its participation. In a press release, Amazon wrote:
SNAP recipients in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming can now use their benefits to shop for groceries on Amazon and other participating retailers.
We checked Walmart’s website to see how broad its acceptance of SNAP is across the U.S., but only found an update from the company in April listing just 19 states plus D.C. We have reached out to Walmart for more information. UPDATE: A spokesperson for Walmart said that it accepts online SNAP payments in 36 states plus D.C..
In April of this year, Kroger launched its own program to accept online SNAP payments at 2,000 of its grocery pickup locations.
In addition to bringing out more digital and food equity, the expanded ability of SNAP participants to purchase groceries online is coming at a critical time. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive unemployment and loss of income, and created new exposure risks for people to physically go into a grocery store. The ability for those in need to purchase groceries online and get them delivered can help with both of those things.