Washington – Produced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Department of Agriculture will immediately allow recipients of food stamps in Connecticut to buy their groceries online.
The USDA created a pilot program last year that allowed eight states to offer Recipient Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients of selected food purchase options from eight online retailers, including ShopRite, Amazon and Walmart.
On Wednesday, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia were added to the list of states where online purchases were available.
“I welcome steps today by the USDA to clear the way for Connecticut families with the benefits of SNAP to make food purchases online,” DeLauro, D-3rd District, said late Wednesday. “The corona virus pandemic has hit Connecticut very hard, so innovative solutions like these that help prevent the spread of this deadly disease are crucial to defeating public health and the economic crisis.”
The Connecticut Department of Social Services said online food purchases are scheduled to begin on June 2.
“When activated, registrants will be able to use SNAP benefits on their EBT cards to purchase food items that meet the requirements online for delivery or curbside pickup at participating food retailers,” DSS said.
DeLauro also quotes a recent study by Yale and Tufts University which shows that in the states in the pilot program, 90 percent of those living in low-income “food deserts”, especially in the city center with few traders, can deliver food to their homes.
The number of food stamp recipients in Connecticut has increased since the pandemic began. According to the Connecticut Department of Social Services, at the end of February 360,031 people in 212,070 households received SNAP benefits in the state. At the end of April, enrollment in this program had increased to 379,936 people in 222,008 households.
DeLauro began pushing to expand the online food coupon pilot program last month at a letter to Perdue was signed by dozens of his DPR colleagues. DeLauro also led the drive to expand the benefits of food stamps by 15 percent during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem of hunger in our community, which makes families help put food on their tables more critically than before,” he said.
A 15 percent increase in benefits was included in a massive stimulus law called the HEROES Act, which bypassed the US House of Representatives but was strongly rejected by Republican lawmakers.
The proposed SNAP increase is one of dozens of provisions in the $ 3 trillion bill opposed by GOP lawmakers who say the law is a Democratic vehicle for permanently expanding social programs and creating new ones.
The shops participating in the online shopping program are listed below:
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