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EBT Food Delivery 2021: Complete Guide To Ordering Food Online With EBT Cards

Last updated: August 19, 2021
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vector graphic showing one hand holding a phone with a hamburger on it and a second hand holding an ebt food delivery card

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than in years prior have become unemployed as their businesses shut down.

This has led to a rise in unemployment insurance, SNAP benefits, and the use of an EBT card.

In addition, more people, especially those at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, have sought grocery delivery services.

Is EBT food delivery also possible?

EBT Cards: A Primer

An EBT card stands for an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, which is provided to people participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).

This is a magnetically encoded payment card, which usually has monthly EBT payments of $125 per participant.

When using your EBT card, you’ll need to enter your PIN into the machine when making a purchase.

Essentially, it works similarly to a debit card.

EBT cards have replaced the food stamps of the past.

Programs for the EBT card have changed somewhat in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new federal program called Pandemic EBT was created to provide money for families to purchase food throughout the COVID-19 shutdowns and economic downturns.

Furthermore, the Pandemic EBT program was extended through the summer of 2021.

EBT Food Delivery: Can I Order Food Online With EBT?

EBT food delivery options are available at various grocery stores and major retailers like Walmart.

In fact, you can go online right now to choose an EBT food delivery service and get groceries delivered to your door.

SNAP benefits offer specific things that you can buy via EBT food delivery.

The food items you can purchase include:

  • Bread and cereals
  • Dairy products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Snack foods
  • Non-alcoholic beverages such as juices or lemonades
  • Seeds and plants
  • Red meat, poultry, and fish

However, you cannot use an EBT card to purchase alcohol or tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, cosmetics, household supplies, and other non-food components.

Food Delivery Apps That Accept EBT Cards

Often, SNAP benefits cannot pay for restaurant food deliveries, which means GrubHub, DoorDash, and UberEats cannot accept payment via an EBT card.

However, several online grocery delivery apps do accept EBT cards.

For instance, Amazon offers EBT payments, including AmazonFresh, and AmazonPantry can all be paid using EBT or SNAP benefits.

Furthermore, SNAP recipients can even get a discount on Amazon Prime.

Nonetheless, all purchases on these apps are restricted to food items.

You can also make food delivery orders online via Walmart or Whole Foods.

Whether you are disabled or fear contracting COVID-19 by shopping in-person, EBT food delivery services will provide you what you need.

Instacart

By late 2020, InstaCart began accepting both SNAP benefits and EBT cards via their food delivery services.

The retailers who accept SNAP benefits via InstaCart include Whole Foods, WalMart, and ALDI.

Via this app, you’ll be able to purchase nearly any food item except for cooked food such as rotisserie chicken or other warmed and cooked foods.

Unfortunately, cooked foods are usually not approved for purchase with an EBT card.

Food Delivery Apps That Don’t Accept EBT Cards

You will find food delivery apps that provide restaurant-made meals are not able to accept EBT cards.

Only retailers that provide uncooked food items can accept payment via SNAP benefits.

Food delivery apps like GrubHub, UberEats, Postmates, and DoorDash cannot take payment through EBT cards.

However, certain states allow hot meals and restaurant-prepared foods to be delivered and paid for via EBT cards.

You can check out the USDA website to see if your state qualifies.

In addition, whether you are having uncooked groceries delivered or you qualify for hot meal delivery, it is important to note that delivery fees cannot be paid through the EBT card and must come out of your own pocket.

Major Retailers That Accept EBT Cards and Provide Online Food Delivery

The good thing about EBT food delivery is that a large number of retailers and major grocery stores now accept SNAP benefits for those who qualify.

We describe these retailers and their services below.

Walmart

Walmart offers curbside pickup for groceries and grocery delivery services for SNAP recipients. All you need to do is pay online with your EBT card at checkout. Walmart accepts EBT card payments in 44 states across the country.

Amazon

AmazonFresh and AmazonPantry apps accept EBT card payments in all states except for Montana, Louisiana, Alaska, and Hawaii. You can shop for fresh produce, meat, beverages, and pantry staples on Amazon.

Furthermore, you can even qualify for free delivery when you make a minimum amount of purchase. Check it out to find sales and deals on foods for your household.

ALDI

More than 1,700 ALDI stores from 37 states and the District of Columbia allow SNAP beneficiaries to use their EBT card to pay for online grocery orders, which can be delivered to their home.

In fact, you can use the Instacart app to use the ALDI retailer for grocery deliveries.

BJ’s Wholesale

While BJ’s Wholesale Club accepts EBT cards in-store across all states, online EBT food delivery ordering is only available in North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. However, EBT payment is not currently available on the BJ’s Wholesale app.

You should be able to make an online grocery delivery order on their website or through the Instacart app.

Food Lion

The retailer Food Lion is accepting EBT card payments for online grocery deliveries as well as curbside pickup. More than 350 Food Lion stores across North Carolina are now accepting SNAP benefits to pay for online grocery orders.

Hy-Vee

The retailer Hy-Vee offers curbside pickup of groceries for SNAP beneficiaries. As of August 2020, all Hy-Vee stores that provide Hy-Vee Aisles Online grocery pickup accept SNAP or EBT card payments.

Orders can be made through Hy-Vee.com or their app. You’ll need to choose a day and time to pick up your groceries and pay with your EBT card.

Kroger

Kroger offers free curbside pickup for groceries that cost $35 or more. In addition, Kroger accepts EBT card payments when you order online. All you’ll need to do is pick out your groceries and choose a time when you can pick up your food items.

Publix

You can use Instacart to order food from Publix to be delivered to your home. In 2021, Publix began accepting EBT card payments from SNAP beneficiaries when purchasing food online via Instacart.

Safeway and Albertsons

At Safeway, you can use EBT payments in 10 states and Washington DC for curbside pickup when ordering groceries online.

Shopping online will help you save time instead of wandering through a store.

However, Safeway does not provide EBT food delivery.

Albertsons has a similar system in place as Safeway.

The company also offers grocery delivery through their DoorDash Albertson’s delivery program.

ShopRite

ShopRite will accept EBT payments for both food delivery and grocery curbside pickup options.

However, this program is only available at ShopRite stores in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.

You can purchase your groceries either via the Shoprite.com website or through the ShopRite mobile app.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Schwans accept food stamps when other online food delivery services didn’t?

Every retailer operates differently from each other. Accepting food stamps or EBT cards is simply another service and every service offered costs companies time and money. To accept EBT cards or SNAP-based food stamps, retailers must apply for this option.

Essentially, Schwans decided they can take on the extra expense and inconvenience of applying to accept EBT payments. Other retailers, however, may not be interested in SNAP customers since they are less likely to buy expensive food items or become major spenders in the future.

Furthermore, Schwans has a large number of freezer trucks where the drivers act as cashiers and accept payment via debit cards, credit cards, or EBT cards. The system they have set up at Schwans may not be something other retailers could take on in the past.

Can you use EBT food stamps for a wedding cake order from a bakery if they offer delivery?

You will find that EBT card payments can be made on birthday cakes, wedding cakes, and other bakery items, according to the Frugal Reality publication. Bakery items including cookies, cakes, and baked goods are all eligible for SNAP benefits.

The only thing to remember is that non-edible decorations on a wedding cake cannot be more than 50 percent of the cost of the cake. Therefore, you may want to choose a wedding cake that does not have much decoration. The biggest part of it will need to be edible.

While EBT payments can be made on a wedding cake from a bakery, SNAP benefits will not cover the delivery fees. You’ll need to pay delivery fees out-of-pocket.

Both bakeries and grocery stores offering standard wedding cakes you can pick out of a catalog may allow you to pay via EBT food stamps. To find bakeries that accept EBT cards, you can use the SNAP Retailer Locator available on the USDA website.

How can we get the USDA to expand EBT benefits to cover online ordering in every state?

Activists in states that do not have EBT benefits available for online grocery ordering will need to let their thoughts known.

Sending letters and setting up meetings with USDA officials may be necessary to expand EBT eligibility for online ordering.

Nonetheless, the Biden-Harris administration has made an impact on raising residents’ access to online grocery ordering, as the USDA outlines.

Online grocery shopping became imperative during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to increase food access for families.

When the pandemic first began, USDA officials began working tirelessly to extend the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot beyond eight states.

Today, there are more than 1.5 million households across 46 states and the District of Columbia using EBT payments to buy groceries online through various retailers.

The Biden-Harris administration is also seeking to expand the use of technology to modernize EBT payments and raise SNAP beneficiaries’ access to online grocery purchasing.

Why are some food items not eligible for SNAP EBT delivery?

While most foods are eligible for SNAP benefits, you cannot use your EBT card to pay for alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins or supplements, over-the-counter medicine, and prepared or hot foods.

For example, prepared foods include cold deli sandwiches while hot foods include rotisserie chicken or other restaurant-prepared meals.

You won’t be able to buy beer, wine, or liquor at any store using your EBT card. You can’t use SNAP benefits to buy cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco either.

When you’re out in a grocery store, you may find that it includes a food counter, pizza shop, or coffee shop.

You’ll need to remember that your EBT card can only cover uncooked foods, so have some extra cash on you if you’re looking to purchase a sandwich or ready-made pizza.

Nonetheless, EBT cards do cover chips, pretzels, crackers, fresh fruits, veggies, bread, meats, baked goods, and more.

Wrapping Up

The EBT program and SNAP benefits have undergone several changes in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic with more states offering EBT food delivery services than ever before.

A pandemic EBT program was also extended to help more families overcome the economic downturn and ensure they had enough food to eat. EBT online orders can cover the majority of foods families need such as fruits, vegetables, bread, dairy products, red meat, and poultry.

You can use Instacart, AmazonFresh, or AmazonPantry apps to order foods online and have them delivered right to your door.

However, you’ll need to remember that GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash do not accept EBT payments. Unfortunately, EBT cards cannot cover restaurant-prepared food.

If you’re looking for a retailer who takes EBT card payments and provides food delivery, you can check out Walmart, Kroger, ShopRite, BJ’s Wholesale, and more. You can get started by using the Instacart app and paying with your EBT card.

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