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Reps. Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, and Members of Ohio Delegation Applaud Approval of Ohio SNAP Pilot Program

May 20, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), and Steve Stivers (OH-15), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approving Ohio’s request to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot. Approval of Ohio’s request will enable SNAP recipients across the state to use SNAP EBT cards to purchase groceries online at authorized online retailers.  

“As our state continues to struggle to overcome this crisis, it is more important than ever for Ohioans to be able to safely put food on the table. This program allows Ohio families to use their SNAP benefits to buy groceries online. This no contact shopping will give over 1.4 million Ohioans safer, healthier, and more diverse options to do their grocery shopping,” said Rep. Ryan

“As this public health and economic crisis continues, many families across Ohio are struggling to put food on the table,” said Rep. Fudge.  “SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Yet for many who rely on the program, it may be difficult or dangerous to go shopping during the current pandemic.  By providing Ohio families the ability to purchase groceries online, this initiative will help ensure SNAP is working for the people who need direct delivery of healthy foods the most during this challenging time.”

“Giving Ohio SNAP recipients the flexibility to purchase food online is sorely needed during these unprecedented times, giving many of my constituents an opportunity to focus more on their health and well-being,” said Rep. Beatty.  “USDA’s decision is long overdue but welcome news for the over 1.4 million Ohioans who rely on SNAP for nutritious meals to feed themselves and their families.”

“I am pleased with USDA’s approval of Ohio to join the SNAP online pilot purchasing program and thank Chairwoman Fudge’s noble leadership on the issue,” said Rep. Kaptur.  “During this most difficult time, our constituents need opportunities to purchase food as safely as possible and this program will deliver that ability.  As this program grows, I encourage the addition of more local grocer options, such as farmers markets, from which participants may shop.”

“The SNAP program is a lifeline for many Ohioans, but unfortunately throughout this pandemic, it’s forced vulnerable individuals to face unnecessary risk just to get the essentials,” said Rep. Stivers.  “Today’s announcement of an online SNAP purchasing option is a huge win for seniors and other at-risk individuals who will be able to stay home and stay safe without having to worry about their grocery list.”

“In this time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, Ohio families need flexibility to safely buy their groceries,” said Sen. Brown.  “Expanding SNAP online purchasing options will help keep families safe and ensure they are getting the meals they need during this pandemic.”

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized USDA to scale the Online Purchasing Pilot and expand its availability nationwide. The pilot, which began in New York in April 2019, now includes 18 participating states, with several additional states in the planning phase of adding online SNAP as a shopping option at authorized grocers. In addition to Ohio, USDA today approved 12 other states to provide online purchasing to SNAP households.  Once those states become operational, online purchasing will be available in 36 states and the District of Columbia, covering more than 90 percent of all SNAP participants.

On April 8, Rep. Ryan joined his colleagues in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging USDA to expand online SNAP purchasing, given the need for expanded grocery delivery options for people in need during the pandemic.

Ohio plans to implement the program statewide this summer with two online SNAP retailers, Walmart and Amazon.

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