The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.
Low-income Ohioans now have another option for using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase groceries to be delivered to their homes.
A new partnership between InstaCart and Aldi allows those living near one of the discount supermarkets to buy groceries online using their EBT card.
Aldi joins two other major retailers, Walmart and Amazon, in offering online grocery delivery payable by EBT card.
This is a relatively new development in Ohio and comes as many in the state are still avoiding public places due to the pandemic. As of early 2020, the only way SNAP could pay for their groceries was inside a store or at curbside.
Last June, the state rolled out an online EBT payment processor for Walmart and Amazon — thus allowing for delivery service from those two retailers. The addition of Aldi now provides a third option, with grocery purchases using SNAP to be made via InstaCart.
This is a “big deal,” said Hope Lane-Gavin, a public policy and external affairs associate for the Ohio-based Center for Community Solutions. She had written in May 2020 about the need to expand grocery delivery access to all Ohioans, pointing out that a majority of those receiving SNAP benefits are either seniors or have a disability.
There is still more progress to be made, Lane-Gavin said. One remaining issue is that EBT cards can be used to pay for grocery orders, but cannot be used to pay for any delivery or service fees.
Because of this, the delivery service InstaCart requires users to have a separate credit/debit card on file in order to pay for the fees and non-SNAP-eligible items. This is a barrier for SNAP recipients who do not have a credit card, Lane-Gavin pointed out.
Still, she said, this marks another step toward giving some low-income Ohioans a safer way to shop during the pandemic.