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Idahoans can now use SNAP benefits on select online orders

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IDAHO FALLS — Idaho residents who utilize food stamps can now skip a trip to the store and purchase items online.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Tuesday that those receiving funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can now purchase their groceries on the Amazon and Walmart websites.

The announcement came as the United States Department of Agriculture approved Idaho to participate in the online purchasing pilot program.

“As stay-at-home orders are lifted, everyone is still encouraged to continue practicing social distancing, and this should help that effort,” Kristin Matthews, program manager for Idaho SNAP said in a news release. “At-risk and needy populations are still facing tremendous difficulty finding and purchasing food, and Idaho is continuing to explore ways to better serve them.”

While the number of people in Idaho receiving food assistance is not as high as it was during and following the 2008 recession, IDHW spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr told EastIdahoNews.com the number is increasing.

“I can tell you that generally snap enrollment is increasing but it is starting to level out,” Forbing-Orr said.

The latest numbers show than in March there were 149,057 people, or about 8.5% of the population in Idaho using SNAP benefits, according to IDHW stats. In comparison, 239,322 people were utilizing the program at its peak in January 2012.

Those using SNAP can choose in-store pickup or delivery, but delivery fees must be paid out of pocket. Also, until Thursday only the Walmart stores in Jerome and Caldwell are participating in the program. The rest of Walmart locations will begin accepting online SNAP orders on Thursday.

If the closest Walmart is in another state, those in Idaho wishing to use SNAP benefits will need to check with the individual out of state store.

Currently, Amazon and Walmart are the only retailers approved by the USDA to accept SNAP benefits online in Idaho, according to the IDHW. Other retailers must apply directly with the USDA.

SNAP helps low-income families purchase food. The program was formerly known as the Idaho Food Stamps program. Those who meet the income reliability receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card which they can use as a debit card at the grocery store to pay for food.

For those looking for more information about the program can visit the IDHW website or call (855) 289-1427 to apply.

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