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Some recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Oklahoma will soon have the option to purchase food online, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

On Wednesday, the announcement came that 13 new states, including Oklahoma, will have access to purchasing food online with 

SNAP benefits soon. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) worked with interested states, retailers and benefit processors to make the online shopping for SNAP beneficiaries possible, according to the USDA.

Once the program becomes fully operational, according to Perdue, a total of 36 states as well as the District of Columbia will also have the option. The program is operational in 18 states and more states will begin to fold in each week.

Oklahoma, according to FNS, remains in the planning phase to add the online SNAP purchasing capability and is not live yet, but will be in the future.

The online purchase capability will help cover about 90% of households.

The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) approved the new states and retailers to accept the SNAP benefits online. Perdue said retail stores beyond the pilot program, which began April 18, 2019, in New York with SNAP purchases available online for two years, will fall under an expansion to include “independently owned and operated retail stores.” That means more SNAP retailers under different store banners will begin accepting SNAP benefits online. 

“We are expanding new flexibilities and innovative programs to make sure Americans across this country have safe and nutritious food during this national emergency,” said Secretary Perdue. “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. 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.”

Most states with the program active have retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Wright’s Markets, Inc., and ShopRite accepting the online SNAP purchases. In total, FNS’s selection of retailers so far include Amazon, Dash’s Market, Fresh Direct, Hy-Veem Safeway, ShopRite, Walmart and Wright’s Markets, Inc.

“For retailers and states that are not yet able to participate in online purchasing, FNS recommends utilizing other options that retailers may already provide, such as Pay at Pick-up — also known as ‘Click and Collect’ — where SNAP cardholders can shop online and then pay for their purchase using their EBT card at pick-up,” states a release from USDA. “SNAP recipients also have the ability to add an authorized user to their card to make purchases on their behalf.”

For up-to-date list of states and retailers accepting online SNAP purchases or for more information on the program, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/online-purchasing-pilot.

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