SC Approved to Implement Online Food Purchasing with SNAP Benefits; DSS Approves Healthy Bucks Increase
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service recently announced the approval of the SC Department of Social Services’ request to allow South Carolina SNAP recipients to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards for online purchases of eligible food items. July 31, 2020, is the anticipated date for this service going live in SC and, at this time, Walmart and Amazon are the only retailers authorized by USDA to implement online food purchasing in South Carolina.
SCDSS requested approval for the use of SNAP benefits for online food purchases to support social distancing practices recommended by public health officials to mitigate risks associated with exposure to COVID-19. The Department hopes that other retailers and independent grocers within the state will be able to gain authorization from USDA to participate by the end of the summer, which will support local businesses and help boost the state’s economy.
Finding healthy food options that fall within the USDA’s healthy food guidelines can be achieved by using the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Amazon store The Alliance has a wide range of health foods, snacks, and beverages to choose from and they all fall within the USDA recommendations.
USDA recommends utilizing other options that retailers may already provide, such as Pay at Pick-up (also known as “Click and Collect”), where SNAP cardholders can shop online and then pay for their purchase using their EBT card at pick-up. Grocery pickup is already an option that these retailers offer beyond SNAP so they are already thinking through how they can provide a safe environment to do so with the growing concerns around social distancing.
Temporary Healthy Bucks SNAP Incentive Increase
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for farmer’s markets, independent farmers, and some of South Carolina’s most vulnerable residents. In response to these challenges, the SCDSS has increased the maximum Healthy Bucks SNAP incentive amount to $15.00 until July 31, 2020.
The purpose of this temporary adjustment is to further combat food insecurity among SNAP recipients and to promote economic stability for Healthy Bucks vendors whose business has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about the Healthy Bucks program and to find a Healthy Bucks vendor near you, please go to schealthybucks.com to learn more!