SNAP recipients in West Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia soon will be able to purchase groceries online as part of a pilot initiated a year ago to test the idea, said the USDA. With the approvals, 39 percent of SNAP recipients are in a state that is part of the pilot. Interest in the pilot has risen with concerns about limiting exposure to the coronavirus.
Also over the weekend, the USDA approved proposals by North Carolina and Massachusetts to operate so-called P-EBT programs to help feed low-income children. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer programs provide benefits to low-income families whose children lost access to free or reduced-price meals due to school closures. Michigan and Rhode Island also have P-EBT programs.
In all, 12 states are part of the SNAP online purchasing program. Amazon and Walmart are authorized retailers in all of the states. The pilot began with Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Washington State, with Arizona, California, Florida and Idaho joining since April 8.
The starting date for online grocery purchases in West Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia will be announced later, said the USDA. The other newcomers to the project expect to inaugurate purchases by the end of April or mid-May.