Amazon and Walmart Accept SNAP Benefits, Who is Eligible for Pandemic EBT?

Certain recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can now use their benefits to purchase items from Walmart and Amazon online as well as receive additional assistance during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to the SNAP website, people who have signed up for SNAP Online Purchasing can buy items from the retail giants as long as they fall within the remittance guidelines of the program such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and plants. Many States have also been approved for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) to provide benefits to families whose children had free or reduced-price meals at school under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.

iStock snap
Stock image: SNAP benefits can be used to buy food for the household. iStock

According to the federal government website, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, signed by President Donald Trump, enables the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to approve state agency plans for temporary emergency benefits. State agencies can submit plans when schools are closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.

Which States Can Use SNAP at Amazon and Walmart?

The following States are part of the online program that allows people to buy from the retail giants:

  • Alabama (as well as Wright's Markets, Inc.)
  • California
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • New York (as well as ShopRite)
  • Oregon
  • Washington

To find out whether you are eligible for SNAPS, contact your local state agency for more information.

What Can I Buy With SNAP?

Only certain products can be bought with SNAP. These are:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat

Households cannot use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements—if an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store)
  • Prepared Foods fit for immediate consumption
  • Hot foods
  • Any nonfood items such as:
    • Pet foods
    • Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
    • Hygiene items, cosmetics

Am I Entitled to Pandemic EBT?

Residents living in the following states and are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act can claim Pandemic EBT:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

Each local state agency will send out a Pandemic EBT card to families who are eligible. If you do not receive one, contact your state agency. Some states have requested more flexibility during the coronavirus outbreak, which is detailed on the dedicated website.