Governor Doug Ducey announced that Arizonans currently receiving food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be able to use benefits for online food purchases with currently-authorized SNAP online retailers, Walmart and Amazon. This change will help limit social interaction for Arizona’s most vulnerable while ensuring SNAP recipients receive needed food assistance.
The new flexibility comes thanks to an approval from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which granted Arizona’s request for online purchases and as well as additional changes to strengthen food security benefits in Arizona. The online purchasing changes are expected to start at the beginning of next month following additional guidance from the federal government.
“Many Arizonans who have never asked anything from the government suddenly find themselves in a time of need — and we are going to be there for them,” said Governor Ducey. “These changes help ensure food assistance is available and easy to access. I’m grateful to the administration for their continued partnership as we work to provide a strong social safety net for our citizens.”
“These changes expand options for Arizonans to use their benefits while limiting time away from their places of residence,” said Tom Betlach, from the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) Office of the Director. “We appreciate the support from our federal partners in moving quickly to make these changes for Arizonans in need.”
Governor Ducey and DES have submitted several requests to FNS to implement program changes to strengthen food security among Arizona families. To date, the federal agency has authorized the following changes:
- Waiving interview requirements when determining eligibility, unless more information is needed from the applicant;
- Temporarily suspending work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents participating in SNAP;
- Increasing SNAP benefits to the maximum allotment for two months due to pandemic-related economic conditions;
- Extending certification periods by 6 months for recipients due to renew benefits in March, April and May;
- Allowing participants to purchase hot and prepared food sold in grocery stores;
- And allowing for verbal attestation in place of a signature on SNAP applications when necessary.
DES will continue to work with federal partners to provide greater assistance to Arizona families in need. To apply for Nutrition Assistance, visit healthearizonaplus.gov or call 1-855-432-7587, 7am-6pm Monday through Friday.