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Illinois gets federal approval to allow SNAP recipients to buy groceries online

Illinois recipients will be able to begin online grocery shopping on June 2. Gov. Pritzker said it will be a permanent change

ILLINOIS, USA — Illinois recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will soon be able to use their EBT card to purchase groceries online.

Starting on June 2, the 1.8 million recipients will be able to use their EBT card and PIN number to order groceries from participating stores that offer online grocery ordering.

Gov. JB Pritzker said the change will make grocery shopping safer during the pandemic, but also said the change will be a permanent feature of the program going forward.

“To keep more families safe and healthy, my administration is expanding the ways in which SNAP recipients can acquire groceries to include online purchasing,” said Pritzker. “The best part is that in addition to helping families shop a little easier and safer during this pandemic, this is a permanent new feature of the SNAP landscape in Illinois that will support our residents for many years to come."

The plan announced Wednesday got the OK from the federal government and was a joint effort between Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Human Services and both U.S. Senators from Illinois, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

As of Wednesday, Walmart and Amazon had agreed to accept online SNAP orders in Illinois. Other grocery retailers can sign up to join the program on the USDA website.

Missouri is also participating in the online pilot program, which started last April. Amazon and Walmart are the only participating grocery retailers in Missouri as well.

There are 19 states currently participating in the pilot with Illinois and 17 others in the planning phase.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers from the SNAP online pilot website:

How will I know if these retailers can deliver to my home?

The delivery ZIP codes available are those where retailers are able to provide their full line of groceries, which includes the ability to deliver perishable items to that area.

Can SNAP be used to pay for delivery?

Only eligible food may be purchased with SNAP benefits; delivery fees and other associated charges may not be paid for with SNAP benefits.

Is using my EBT card online secure?

The use of your EBT card online will still require your unique personal-identification-number (PIN). There is currently one company that has a PCI compliant method of encrypted-PIN entry that is necessary for online shopping. All participating pilot retailers are working with this same company to offer secure PIN entry.

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