USDA Approves Florida’s Request to Launch Online Grocery Purchase Pilot Program
April 14, 2020
Press release from Florida Department of Children & Families
Florida’s SNAP recipients will now be able to use EBT cards to make eligible online food purchases. A pilot program will launch in Tallahassee on April 16, expanding statewide on April 20.
Today, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced Florida will pilot a program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to purchase groceries online with the use of an EBT card. SNAP participants are automatically eligible to participate in this program and do not need to apply.
“Removing barriers and enhancing access to critical services, while supporting Florida’s infrastructure, remains a top priority for this agency,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. “I commend Governor DeSantis for taking yet another proactive action to equip Florida families with resources, while keeping their health and safety at the forefront. This is an innovative, common sense efficiency that will strengthen our families during this time of uncertainty.”
This partnership with federal, state, and local partners will ensure Floridians can access nutritious food while also practicing social distancing and self-quarantining to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The pilot program in Florida will begin with an initial launch on April 16, 2020.
“Fidelity Information Systems (FIS) commends Florida for responding to its customer’s needs in a quick and efficient manner,” said Florida’s EBT vendor FIS, Jim Johnson, EVP of Payments and Wealth. “We have been working diligently with the state to ensure our customers have consistent and timely access to their benefits during this pivotal time and look forward to the successful implementation of this pilot.”
Walmart will initially launch a pilot at all five Tallahassee locations on April 16. On April 21, both Walmart and Amazon online purchasing will be available statewide. DCF will continue to coordinate with the USDA and the Florida Retail Federation to expand the network of retailers participating in the pilot program.
“Customers rely on us to help put food on their tables and our Pickup and Delivery options are playing a more important role than ever in helping them do that,” said Beverly Cole, Senior Director, Payment Acceptance with Walmart. “Making these services available to more and more customers, no matter how they pay is a critical step in the right direction. More than 250 of our stores in Florida have pickup options and we’ll be ready to serve customers using SNAP no matter how they shop with us.”
“Amazon remains committed to making food accessible through online shopping, offering all customers access to low prices, selection, and convenience,” said Kristina Herrmann, Director of Underserved Populations at Amazon. “This is especially important as millions of Americans are being encouraged to stay at home. We continue to work closely with state officials and the USDA as the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot grows to expand our capabilities in supporting under-served customers.”
“This program comes at a critical time as Florida encourages preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Florida Retail Federation Vice President and General Counsel Lorena Holley. “The Florida Retail Federation appreciates DCF’s commitment to utilizing technology and removing bureaucracy to ensure Florida businesses can provide the services needed to Florida families.”
Walmart already accepts SNAP benefits at all its brick and mortar locations in the United States. Customers will be able to use their EBT cards and opt for curbside pick-up. Utilization of food assistance benefits remains limited to the purchasing of eligible grocery items and cannot be used to pay for delivery services.