AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) –Texas has federal approval to allow those who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, to purchase groceries online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pilot program is expected to start by May 18 statewide.

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“By allowing SNAP recipients to purchase groceries online throughout the COVID-19 response, we are removing barriers to healthy and nutritious food for many families in Texas,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “I am grateful to our federal partners at the USDA for approving this request. As the Lone Star State continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are exhausting all avenues to both protect the health and safety of Texans while ensuring families, including recipients of SNAP, have the ability to provide for their families during this challenging time.”

“Because families, including SNAP recipients, have had to adjust to social distancing and staying home when possible, some homes have encountered challenges when finding certain grocery items,” said HHS Access and Eligibility Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter. “Adding another option for Texans using SNAP to get the healthy and nutritious food their families need helps ease the minds of families and limit their exposure to COVID-19.”

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With approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, HHSC is implementing a pilot program to allow online grocery purchasing for SNAP clients in Texas. Walmart and Amazon are the first retailers to join the pilot in Texas, scheduled to start by May 18.

SNAP clients are now receiving their maximum eligible allotment and have also had renewal requirements temporarily waived.

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