SNAP Online Purchasing Program

5/20/2020

Starting June 2, the Illinois Department of Human Services is proud to offer online purchasing for more than 1.8 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers across a million households.

As the Pritzker Administration announced on May 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved IDHS' SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Online implementation plan, which provides access to online purchasing for SNAP customers. 

This will be automatically provided to all existing Link card holders on June 2, 2020 and can be used online at Amazon and Walmart - the first retailers to provide online SNAP in Illinois. IDHS is encouraging other grocery retailers to participate to deepen and broaden the reach of this program across Illinois communities.

To use SNAP benefits online, visit Amazon.com/SNAP or Grocery.Walmart.com and follow the instructions on the screen. To sign up for SNAP or if residents have any questions, please visit dhs.state.il.us.


Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Why is online SNAP important?
    • Online SNAP will give families easier access to food during this time of crisis and beyond. Busy parents will no longer have to stress about how they can pick their kids up from school and make it to the grocery store before dinner. And those working multiple jobs or the late shift won't have to rush to make it before the store closes. All families will have another option to independently secure the food they need.
  2. Will online SNAP continue to be available when we no longer have to social distance or wear a mask?
    • Yes, IDHS had been working to make Online SNAP available to our customers before the pandemic, and the COVID-19 crisis only accelerated the process. The program will continue indefinitely as long as we have participating retailers.
  3. Is IDHS planning to make any other long-term changes to reflect lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 
    • This is just the beginning. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us how IDHS can provide more flexibility to serve the unique needs of our three million customers across the state. Whether services are delivered in-person, online, or a combination of the two, we look forward to identifying other opportunities to improve the standard of service and make it easier for everyone to get the help they need.
  4. Which retailers are participating in the SNAP Online Purchasing Program?
    • Amazon and Walmart are the first retailers to provide Online SNAP in Illinois. As national retailers with large delivery areas, we appreciate their partnership and ability to reach so many people right away. IDHS encourages other grocery retailers to participate to deepen and broaden the reach of this program across Illinois communities.
  5. Where can interested retailers find more information about how to become authorized to accept SNAP benefits online?
  6. How do SNAP participants sign up to use their benefits?
    • To use SNAP benefits online, visit Amazon.com/SNAP or Grocery.Walmart.com and follow the instructions on the screen. If you are not already an Amazon or Walmart customer, you will need to create an account, add your SNAP EBT card, and zip code to make sure that you are eligible. There are also opportunities to add an EBT card during checkout.
  7. How will SNAP participants know which items are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits?
    • SNAP-eligible food items have a special label "SNAP EBT eligible." This label appears after a SNAP participant adds their SNAP EBT card to their Amazon account. USDA requires all SNAP authorized retailers, including authorized online retailers, to ensure SNAP benefits are used to purchase eligible food items.
  8. Which form of payment is accepted to make purchases using SNAP benefits? Are EBT cards accepted?
    • Illinois residents participating in SNAP may use their EBT card to complete purchases of eligible food items with their SNAP benefits. If an order contains non-SNAP eligible food items, customers must pay with another form of payment such as a credit or debit card, gift card, or another acceptable form of payment.
  9. Can SNAP participants use benefits to pay for shipping or delivery?
    • No. Unfortunately, federal requirements prohibit using your SNAP benefits to cover shipping or delivery fees. However, it is possible to earn free shipping by adding enough qualifying items to your order. Amazon waives grocery delivery fees for orders over $35.
  10. Can Illinois households participating in the SNAP program purchase eligible food from Whole Foods using their SNAP benefits?
    • No. However, some Whole Foods brands are available on the Amazon Grocery, Fresh, and Pantry "stores."