For Immediate Release:
Oct. 29, 2020
Deputy Chief of Communications
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Online Buying Option Now Includes Amazon
SNAP program for clients to purchase eligible food items available at Amazon and Walmart.
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Clients who get food assistance benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) now have the option to shop for eligible food items and pay online through both Amazon and Walmart, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today.
In late July, the Food Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Arkansas’s request to join the nationwide pilot. Because of the public health emergency, USDA allowed states to expedite participation in what had been a limited pilot to give clients alternatives to in-person shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SNAP online purchases through Walmart launched earlier this month, and now Amazon also is an active retailer in Arkansas. Both Walmart and Amazon were part of the original nationwide pilot through the USDA.
Other local retailers have expressed interest in joining the online SNAP program, and they will be able to complete the process with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service now that Arkansas’s Online SNAP program is active.
“We are happy to have another retail option to offer SNAP clients who may need safe alternatives to shopping in person for groceries during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” said Mary Franklin, Director of the DHS Division of County Operations.
All SNAP clients can use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to shop and pay online through participating retailers for eligible food items. SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay membership or delivery fees. Clients can add the items to their carts, choose EBT as their payment method, enter their PIN number, and choose pick-up or delivery options as needed.
SNAP currently serves about 185,000 families and a total of 390,000 people in Arkansas.
For retailers to participate in online purchasing, they must be able to meet federal online purchasing requirements such as the ability to ensure eligible and non-eligible items (such as delivery fees and paper products) can be paid for separately during the online transaction.
Through some retailers, SNAP clients have been able to shop online and arrange for pick-up and payment at the store. That option will still be available to clients from retailers that offer it. SNAP Online purchasing offers an alternative for clients to both shop and pay online.