In the wake of the coronavirus, SNAP food benefits (previously known as food stamps) have undergone some changes. In addition to a recently announced increase in benefits, SNAP is also growing in terms of online ordering. Let’s take a look at the basics of SNAP shopping, including how to apply for benefits and where you can use them.
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SNAP food benefits are seeing major increases in the wake of COVID-19.
In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a 40% increase in monthly SNAP benefits across the country. The benefit increases, which totals $2 billion monthly, aim to help out those in need of consistent groceries during this crisis.
Find where to use your SNAP food benefits.
Plenty of stores, both local and chains, accept SNAP benefits. Major chains such as Walmart, Target, Safeway, Walgreens, Trader Joe’s, and 7-Eleven all currently accept SNAP payments. The USDA runs an official SNAP retailer locator to help you find a store within 25 miles of you that accepts SNAP benefits.
Online SNAP purchases are available in certain states.
As shoppers are trying to stay out of stores, many states are moving forward for online SNAP shopping. Certain retailers such as Walmart and Amazon are currently accepting SNAP online payments in Washington, Alabama, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Florida, and Iowa.
Additional states are looking to move forward with online shopping by May of 2020 such as:
- North Carolina
- District of Columbia
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
Coupons can be used with SNAP benefits.
Coupons can be used when paying with SNAP benefits, with the process generally working the same as any other payment method. While most major stores simply apply their general couponing policy to SNAP purchases, certain stores have individual policies, as you will see below. When choosing your coupons, keep in mind that SNAP benefits can only be used for food-specific items.
Kroger is allowing SNAP food benefits to be used for grocery pickup at over 2,000 stores.
In response to the coronavirus, Kroger has recently announced they will accept SNAP payments for grocery pickup at over 2,000 locations. While there used to be a $4.95 pickup fee, Kroger has officially waived it. Additionally, there is no minimum payment amount required. Like most other stores, Kroger still does not accept SNAP payments for deliveries. Thankfully, the USDA is considering expanding SNAP benefits to more delivery orders.
Other stores under the Kroger umbrella, such as Fred Meyer and Smith’s, also don’t have restrictions when it comes to using coupons with a SNAP payment.
Walmart shoppers can use SNAP EBT payments for grocery pickup.
SNAP benefits can be used for Walmart grocery pickup. Using the Walmart Grocery mobile app or website, you simply select your items and choose “EBT Card” as your payment method. Keep in mind that only select items qualify for SNAP payments, meaning you may be responsible for remaining charges. However, Walmart only allows for SNAP grocery delivery payments in New York state.
Fred Meyer shoppers can pay for grocery pickup orders using SNAP food benefits.
SNAP EBT payments are now allowed for grocery pickup orders at Fred Meyer. The store makes the process simple, as you only need to choose “SNAP EBT at Pickup” and swipe your card once you arrive at the pickup location.
Target only accepts SNAP food benefits in stores.
Like most major stores, Target accepts SNAP payments for groceries. Unfortunately, the store only accepts SNAP payments for in-store purchases. While Target does offer both grocery delivery and curbside pickup, neither can be paid for with SNAP benefits.
The Target coupon policy applies to orders using SNAP payments, such as only allowing four manufacturer coupons per household, per day.
Smith’s now allows SNAP EBT payments for grocery pickup.
Smith’s recently announced they will allow SNAP food benefits to be used for grocery pickup payment. The process is simple, as you only need to shop online through the Smith’s website, select a time to pick up your order, and choose “SNAP/EBT” as the payment method. Make sure to bring your SNAP benefits card along with you to present at pickup.
Arizonians can use SNAP benefits for Safeway and Albertsons delivery.
Both Safeway and Albertsons offer grocery delivery and curbside pickup. However, both chains currently only allow you to use SNAP payments for delivery and pickup in Arizona stores. In any other state, you will need to use your SNAP EBT card in store. Standard coupon policy applies to both stores when using SNAP benefit payments.
Amazon EBT payments are accepted for online orders.
You can currently use SNAP benefits for Amazon groceries in eight states. You can use them for Amazon groceries in:
- New York
If you live in those states, simply add your SNAP EBT card for payment to your account (similarly to a credit card), shop through AmazonFresh or Amazon Pantry, and enter your PIN at checkout.
Additionally, once your SNAP EBT card is added as your account’s payment method, you can get free shipping on Amazon Pantry orders over $35.
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