SC SNAP recipients can now use benefits online for Amazon, Walmart

Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:25 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The 302,383 households who received SNAP benefits in June now have a new place to spend the benefits.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services announced Wednesday SNAP recipients are now able to use their benefits online to purchase food. Currently, South Carolina SNAP recipients can only purchase food online from Amazon and Walmart, but the department’s statement on the announcement reads in part:

“DSS hopes that other retailers and independent grocers will be added soon to help boost the state’s economy; however this process is controlled by the federal government and DSS has no role in approving retailers.”

Federal regulations prevent the benefits from being spent on delivery fees.

Leaders of non-profits in the Columbia community said the announcement will address a series of challenges the people they serve face.

Harvest Hope Food Bank Communications Specialist Taylor Davids said the ability to access food online will save the food bank’s clients time and resources attempting to access the food bank or a store.

“Especially when we talk about gas money and car issues and things like that, with the ability of these people to be able to shop as long as they have internet access, and these items are able to be delivered to them, I think it will help out tremendously,” she said.

Davids said the pandemic has doubled the number of families the food bank helps on any given day, at roughly 300 families per opening.

Homeless No More CEO Lila Anna said the move allows the families to be safer as they move through transitional housing.

“They want to stay inside. They want to say isolated for lack of a better word. So, this allows them to do that safely. It keeps themselves and their families healthy, while again making sure that their families are fed,” she said.

Able South Carolina Executive Director Kimberly Tissot echoed the health benefits of the announcement.

“People with disabilities have a higher rate of obesity. So, being able to really to sit down and plan your food without getting enticed by going into the grocery store and seeing junk food is a way to also make sure people with disabilities are eating more healthy,” she said.

There were 638,952 South Carolina residents who received SNAP benefits in June.

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