CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division for Economic and Housing Stability has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in a pilot program that allows recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to purchase and pay for groceries online.
The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot program allows the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer cards to purchase eligible food items through two authorized online retailers, Amazon and Walmart.
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency, we have worked hard to ensure that our residents are able to safely access the things their families need when they need them the most,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “Online purchasing provides additional flexibility for all Granite State SNAP recipients, allowing them more ways to use their SNAP benefits to make sure their families have access to healthy and nutritious food during the pandemic and beyond.”
“Online purchasing is one more way New Hampshire residents can access good nutrition throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette. “Purchasing groceries online is safe, secure and helps people maintain social distancing measures that help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
SNAP recipients will be able to purchase eligible food items, but will not be able to use benefits for service or delivery charges.
Participation in the pilot program is one of several measures DHHS has taken to reduce concerns around food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others include the issuance of emergency SNAP benefits; the extension of certification periods for SNAP recipients; a temporary suspension of SNAP work requirements for eligible individuals; participation in Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), which provides families with children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program additional SNAP benefits due to the loss of school meals during remote learning; and accepting applications by phone for the Women, Infants and Children program.
The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot was established by the federal 2014 Farm Bill, which mandated a pilot to test the feasibility of allowing online transactions using SNAP benefits.
In 2017, eight states were selected to be part of the pilot, which was launched in New York State in 2019, followed by Washington in January 2020. Additional states have joined the program as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot program, go to www.dhhs.nh.gov/dfa/foodstamps/index.htm.