Tennesseans are now able to use SNAP benefits to buy food online
NASHVILLE – Tennesseans who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed their families now have a new resource to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Tennessee for a pilot program that allows SNAP benefits to be used to buy food online with Amazon and Walmart.
SNAP recipients will be able to use their benefits to buy food on Amazon beginning June 1, 2020. Walmart will accept SNAP benefits at two locations (577 N. Germantown Parkway in Cordova and 4150 Ringgold Rd. in East Ridge) on June 1 and statewide on June 2. The USDA has additionally announced plans to expand online purchasing to more retailers in the future.
Families can access this new resource by entering their Electronic Benefit Card (EBT) information on Amazon‘s SNAP dedicated website or by following the guidelines Walmart has established for SNAP online purchasing. More than 900 thousand individuals in Tennessee receive SNAP benefits.
“This change provides families who depend on SNAP for daily nutrition the ability to buy food without ever stepping foot in a supermarket.” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “Online purchasing supports our mission to build a thriving Tennessee by helping flatten the curve during COVID-19 and making life easier for families once the emergency has passed.”
Tennessee is now one of 36 states where online purchasing is allowed in addition to the District of Columbia. SNAP benefits cannot be used for delivery fees and SNAP recipients who receive cash benefits on their EBT cards will not be able to apply those non-SNAP benefits to online purchases.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, unemployed and working families. SNAP helps supplement monthly food budgets of families with low-income to buy the food they need to maintain good health and allow them to direct more of their available income toward essential living expenses. TDHS staff determines the eligibility of applicants based on guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The primary goals of the program are to alleviate hunger and malnutrition and to improve nutrition and health in eligible households. TDHS has a dual focus on alleviating hunger and establishing or re-establishing self-sufficiency.