COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina SNAP recipients are going to be able to make food purchases online as part of a new pilot program in the state. South Carolina's Department of Social Services says July 31, 2020, is the anticipated date for this service going live in SC.
US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue announced Tuesday that South Carolina and Utah are the latest states approved for a pilot program to provide online purchases of food for those using SNAP benefits.
According to the USDA, South Carolina’s SNAP participation is more than 558,000 individuals, more than 259,000 households, and totals $855 million annually in federal benefits.
The government said allowing online use of SNAP benefits is a convenience and another way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 through unnecessary contact. SNAP users can order eligible food products through one of the USDA's approved vendors -- currently Amazon and Walmart -- for pick-up or home delivery. Delivery fees and other associated charges may not be paid for with SNAP benefits.
Until states are prepared to operate the pilot, USDA 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. Grocery pickup is already an option that these retailers offer beyond SNAP so they are already thinking through how they can provide a safe environment to do so with the growing concerns around social distancing.
In a statement, Walmart says, “We continue to be excited to be part of the USDA’s pilot program and to be able to make our Grocery Pickup and Delivery service available to more and more people, regardless of their payment method. Now more than ever, customers are relying on our pickup and delivery services to give them access to quality, fresh groceries, and we believe that shouldn’t be dictated by how you pay.”