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Ohio becomes one of 13 states to allow shoppers to use SNAP benefits to purchase groceries online

As unemployment skyrockets, advocates push Congress to increase SNAP benefits
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 13:44:35-04

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that Ohio is one of 13 states that will soon allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to use their benefits to purchase groceries online.

Currently, there is a SNAP online purchasing pilot operating in 18 states, with additional states being added to the pilot program each week.

“Enabling people to purchase foods online will go a long way in helping Americans follow CDC social distancing guidelines and help slow the spread of the coronavirus,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “USDA is mandated with the noble goal of feeding Americans when they need it most, and we are fulfilling that mission with new innovative programs during this national emergency.”

Several members of Ohio’s congressional delegation applauded the USDA for including Ohio in the program.

“As this public health and economic crisis continues, many families across Ohio are struggling to put food on the table,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11). “SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Yet for many who rely on the program, it may be difficult or dangerous to go shopping during the current pandemic. By providing Ohio families the ability to purchase groceries online, this initiative will help ensure SNAP is working for the people who need direct delivery of healthy foods the most during this challenging time.”

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the USDA to roll out the online purchasing pilot and expand its availability nationwide. The program started in New York City in 2019, which now includes 18 participating states. Ohio plans to implement the program this summer with Walmart and Amazon being the two SNAP retailers.

“Today’s announcement of an online SNAP purchasing option is a huge win for seniors and other at-risk individuals who will be able to stay home and stay safe without having to worry about their grocery list," said Representative Steve Stivers (OH-15).