It was one of the saving graces of the pandemic for many families in Louisiana. It was the ability to purchase groceries online and avoid going into stores during the height of COVID across the state. However, many found a major social disparity in who could and who could not take advantage of the safety and convenience of online grocery shopping. That gap appears to have been closed.

Firmbee via Unsplash.com
Firmbee via Unsplash.com
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It was announced yesterday that EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cardholders in Louisiana may now use that card to make grocery purchases online. A spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services calls the new direction in policy a game-changer for many Louisiana families.

As of now the only retailer that has filed for approval to allow online use of SNAP benefits via EBT is Walmart. Other vendors are expected to be included in the program in the very near future, however, a vendor must apply with the USDA before approval to accept EBT cards online is granted.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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While this new policy does allow for the purchase of groceries online, SNAP benefits may not be used to pay for grocery delivery fees. A DCFS spokesman explained it this way.

They cannot use their SNAP card to pay for the food delivery, they can buy the food but when it’s delivered, they have to use cash or another form of credit to pay for that.

The words of Marketa Garner Walters, the Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services as reported by the Louisiana Radio Network.

So, you can shop and pay for food online but you'll either need to arrange to go pick up your purchases or arrange to pay, out of pocket, for delivery of those purchases to your home.

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
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There is an app that you can download to your smartphone which will make shopping and record-keeping a lot easier for those who choose to use it. You can find out more about the LifeInCheck Mobile App by visiting this link from DCFS. Having this app on your phone will allow you easy access to SNAP/EBT balances, show you the next available benefit date, allow you to request a replacement card, or change your PIN.

Also if you'd like to know more about the change in policy regarding online purchase of groceries using SNAP benefits through your EBT card you'll want to visit this link from DCFS.  

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