Ohioans who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can now use their cards to purchase food online through Walmart and Amazon, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced in a news release Wednesday.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many Ohioans have opted for online shopping as a safer alternative to spending time in grocery stores, but that option hasn’t been available to those who use SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, to purchase groceries.
“We know many Ohioans are struggling and that food purchasing has been a challenge for many, especially older Ohioans and those with limited access to transportation,” ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall said in the release. “We hope online purchasing gives individuals more options and makes it easier for them to both stay safe and eat nutritiously.”
Previously, Ohio SNAP recipients could order groceries online at Giant Eagle, Walmart and some Kroger stores, but they had to pay inside the stores or at curbside, the release said.
“After receiving federal approval, ODJFS successfully tested online purchasing with Walmart and Amazon,” it said. “While Ohio SNAP recipients can order food online from a variety of retailers, only Walmart and Amazon allow online purchasing with EBT cards. Individuals may choose to have groceries delivered, but federal rules still prohibit using SNAP benefits to pay for any delivery charges.”
Individuals may qualify for SNAP if their household’s gross monthly income is at or under 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. Ohioans can apply at benefits.ohio.gov.
The release said benefits can be used to buy most food products, with the exception of alcoholic beverages, vitamins and/or medicines, and hot food made to be eaten immediately, including prepared food from grocery stores and restaurants.
The release said ODJFS has provided additional assistance to SNAP recipients during the pandemic:
- Began issuing Pandemic EBT benefits for children who normally receive free or reduced price meals at school.
- Issued supplemental SNAP payments to qualifying households in March, April and May and is preparing to issue them again in June.
- Waived administrative verifications normally required at food banks, to streamline the process and limit person-to-person contact.
- Extended SNAP recertification periods for March, April, May and June by six months.