SALEM, Ore. — Oregonians who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will now be able to use them to purchase groceries online, the Oregon Department of Human Services announced on Thursday.
The agency said that the decision was "in keeping with Governor Brown's 'Stay Home, Save Lives'" order, encouraging social distancing for people who might otherwise have to go to the store.
Online purchases will be available from Walmart and Amazon, DHS said.
The online option was already part of a pilot project rolled out this month in Portland and Grants Pass. Due to the ongoing public health crisis, Walmart and Amazon agreed to move up the date for expanding to all Oregonians.
“We are grateful that these retailers expanded their grocery services to all Oregonians receiving SNAP benefits,” said Dan Haun, Self-Sufficiency Programs director at the Oregon Department of Human Services. “Convenience, quality and fresh groceries should not be determined by how someone pays. The expansion will increase food access for those who experience challenges visiting brick-and-mortar stores.”
DHS said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people eligible for SNAP, especially as workers are laid-off, and the ability to purchase groceries online supports physical distancing necessary to help slow the spread of the virus.
“We appreciate the accommodations that many retailers have made to support individuals at high risk of serious health consequences from COVID-19,” said Mike McCormick, interim director of the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities. “Anything we can do to help Oregonians access necessities and limit their potential exposure to illness, is absolutely crucial at this time.”
Oregonians with reduced work hours or lost jobs can apply for SNAP online if they meet eligibility requirements.