By: Hannah Walker, Vice President, Political Affairs, FMI  

SNAP online
During a typical week, news announcing the expansion of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) pilot would garner a fair amount of attention, but coming out the night before a national election, it fell a bit under the radar. This is completely understandable and to be expected that the election would take precedence over a retailer being approved to offer online SNAP sales, but this news does deserve a closer look. While it took almost five years to launch the pilot and authorize the initial four retailers, we are now looking at a process that is becoming clearer, standardized, and completed in a matter of months, not years. 


It’s important to recognize that the online SNAP pilot has gone from fewer than five participating states to 46 (and the District of Columbia) ready to enable SNAP online purchasing for beneficiaries. A great deal of time and energy went into authorizing additional retailers to accept SNAP online, and while this work wasn’t front page news, it has been steadily progressing. 

In addition to announcing the independent retailer in North Carolina going live, FNS also announced that another eighteen SNAP retailers were in the final phase of testing and should be going live in the coming months. The list includes a diverse group of small and large retailers who will bring unique solutions to the market.  This is great progress, and the industry has proven, once again, to be nimble by pushing forward with SNAP online during a pandemic and increased pressures throughout their operations.   

Our work is far from done, but this is a step in the right direction to ensure that SNAP retailers can offer the same services to all their customers, while ensuring redemption options for SNAP benefits, whether in store or online.   

FMI will continue to work with our members and FNS to find ways to improve the SNAP online authorization process and learn from the experiences of those who have gone through the process.  

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