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Online grocery shopping officially available for Massachusetts SNAP recipients

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BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can purchase groceries online with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards through Amazon and Walmart.

Like using SNAP benefits to purchase food in a store, benefits can be used to buy SNAP-eligible foods online, including fresh produce, frozen foods, dairy and eggs, plant seeds and more. Then purchases can be delivered through Amazon and some Walmart locations. Several Walmart locations also offer curbside pickup. Visit http://www.mass.gov/SNAPonline for more information about this new purchasing option, including frequently asked questions and flyers.

“The Administration has been working to use all tools available to address food insecurity exacerbated by this public health crisis,” said COVID-19 Command Center Director and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “SNAP is one of the best tools available to fight hunger, putting money directly into the hands of our residence and local economy. This innovative option enables families across the Commonwealth to purchase food directly and safely.”

“As the economic impact of the public health crisis continues, applications for SNAP benefits have increased upwards of 400%,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Amy Kershaw. “Throughout the crisis, the Department of Transitional Assistance has continued its work to help meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable families, and with the launch of this new online purchasing option, we are seeing further equity brought to food purchasing options in Massachusetts.”

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) worked closely with the state’s EBT vendor, Conduent, as well as the federally approved retailers Amazon and Walmart, to implement the program as quickly as possible. Since the start of the public health emergency, applications for SNAP benefits have increased upwards of 400%, resulting in more than 80,000 new households now receiving SNAP.

“Amazon remains committed to making food accessible through online shopping, offering all customers access to low prices, selection, and convenience,” said Kristina Herrmann, Director of Underserved Populations at Amazon. “This is especially important as millions of Americans are being encouraged to continue practicing physical distancing. We continue to work closely with state officials and the USDA as the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot grows to expand our capabilities in supporting under-served customers.”

“We continue to be excited to be part of the USDA’s pilot program and to be able to make our Pickup and Delivery services available to more and more people, regardless of their payment method. Now more than ever, customers are relying on our pickup and delivery services to give them access to quality, fresh groceries, and we believe that shouldn’t be dictated by how you pay,” said Molly Blakeman, Director of National Media Relations at Walmart.

SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for fees, like delivery fees. Economic assistance program benefits received through DTA, Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC), cannot be used to purchase items online at this time.

In response to COVID-19, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed states to submit plans to participate in an online purchasing pilot program, Massachusetts submitted a waiver to participate in the pilot program on April 24, and received federal approval on May 20. The USDA approves all retailers for participation in this program. Interested retailers can visit: www.FNS.USDA.gov/SNAP.

DTA assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency. DTA serves one in nine residents of the Commonwealth with direct economic assistance and food assistance, as well as workforce training opportunities.

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