Trenton – Senators Joseph Vitale and Nellie Pou applaud the federal government’s decision to allow SNAP benefits to be to buy groceries online.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that New Jersey residents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be able to use their benefits to order groceries online starting next week.
“This is a major step in combatting the COVID-19 spread throughout our state, but particularly in our poorer and more densely populated communities,” said Senator Vitale, Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Allowing SNAP benefits to be used through online platforms will minimize trips to the grocery store and keep workers and the community safe while at the same time putting food on the tables of our neighbors most in need. This is the smart and safe thing to do now, but with so much of our lives moving online, I hope that this program can continue even after the pandemic passes.”
In March, the senators sponsored SCR-109/ACR-165, a resolution urging the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to apply for federal waivers to facilitate and increase access to SNAP benefits throughout the current pandemic
Under the new program, NJ SNAP recipients will be able to use their benefits card to order groceries from Amazon starting on May 27. Walmarts, ShopRites and The Fresh Grocers that that provide online shopping will also accept online ordering with SNAP benefits starting on May 28.
“Ordering groceries from your home has been an important tool in flattening New Jersey’s curve,” said Senator Pou, Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. “Unfortunately, not everyone has the same means to afford this safety measure. This is going to give over three hundred thousand households the same comfort and safety that the wealthier have experienced from the onset of the crisis. And as the virus will continue to be around until a vaccine is available, this program should remain available long after the shelter in place order is lifted.”
NJ SNAP currently serves about 700,000 New Jerseyans in 356,000 households, with the monthly SNAP benefit based on household size and income. Recipients will be able to use their Families First Electronic Benefits Transfer card to purchase eligible groceries from the participating retailers. Under federal rules, SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for delivery fees.
To learn more, recipients can visit USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service website here.