SNAP Program Expands to Online Grocery Purchases, Curbside Pickup, and Delivery Starting May 27, 2020
The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that it has secured approval from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to expedite online grocery purchases for food insecure Marylanders. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP as it’s commonly known, helps low-income households buy the food they need. This accelerated timeline will provide SNAP households in Maryland with the opportunity to purchase groceries online from approved USDA retailers at no additional cost.
The SNAP program plays a critical role in responding to vulnerable people who need food assistance, particularly during a crisis like the present COVID-19 pandemic. Allowing SNAP households to purchase food online will increase participation in the recommended public health practices and help mitigate the risks associated with exposure to the Coronavirus across Maryland. Approval of this request will also have a positive impact on Maryland households that might not have the ability to make SNAP purchases in person during this public health crisis, such as individuals with disabilities, those with chronic health conditions, and people who are required to self-quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.
The Department of Human Services secured commitments from several major online retailers that are approved by the USDA, to ensure online SNAP becomes available to Marylanders as soon as possible. ShopRite, Amazon, and Walmart have waived delivery and servicing fees to enable SNAP households in Maryland to purchase eligible grocery items online. DHS continues to pursue opportunities with other potential retailers that have the capacity to provide online purchasing and meet the USDA’s retailer requirements, so as to expand available resources.
Online SNAP purchasing will be piloted by participating retailers in smaller geographic locations around the state on May 27, and will then be available to customers statewide on May 28. The process will function similar to the way a credit or bank card transaction occurs — SNAP recipients will be prompted to enter their EBT card details at checkout, along with the Personal Identification Number (PIN) associated with their card.