Does Hello Fresh accept food stamps and SNAP EBT cards?
SNAP provides families with assistance which they can use to purchase food in stores and via a pilot program online. But are meal delivery kits included?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest food assistance program in the United States. It supplements low-income families’ food budget so they can afford to purchase healthy food and avoid periods of food instability. But there are limits on what and where recipients can use the funds given to them.
The money is often given to SNAP recipients on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card which generally have to be used in participating stores and can’t be used to buy hot pre-prepared meals. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up a pilot program that allows recipients to buy food online from retailors. And so far, one home meal delivery service permits customers to pay with the EBT card.
Home meal delivery services that accept SNAP
In general, SNAP benefits are not allowed to be used to pay for “hot, prepared meals.” The USDA does have a Restaurant Meals Program that permits certain groups of SNAP recipients to use their EBT to buy food at fast food restaurants. But participation in states is limited to just a handful and sometimes not even statewide.
Because home meal kits from the likes of Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, and Top Box send subscribers partially-prepared food ingredients to be prepared at home they are EBT eligible. However, a company needs to be approved by the USDA to accept payments with SNAP benefits.
The only meal delivery service that currently allows customers to order food online with EBT is Top Box Foods. However the company states that “payments must be made in person on delivery day with the EBT card in hand.” The rest accept most other payment methods but you will need to check their payment policies to confirm which ones.
Shopping for groceries online
SNAP recipients can order groceries and other SNAP-eligible products online and have it delivered to their homes. In 2019 the USDA launched a federal pilot program allowing states to add EBT cards as an online payment option.
Participating retailors vary by state but the USDA Food and Nutrition service has a state directory where you can check which ones are available in your state. Some of the retailors included are ALDI, Amazon, HyVee, Publix, ShopRite, Safeway and Walmart.