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SNAP benefits won't pay for most food delivery

I have a friend who is disabled, and both she and her school-age child have health issues. They are not going out, even for groceries, in order to remain safe. However, when she orders groceries, she must use her credit card instead of the food stamps. I imagine it’s not a good idea for someone else to take her food stamps and shop for her. She cannot be the only one with this situation. What can she do to stay safe and still use the food stamps she desperately needs?

— Merry, Medford

SYA made several calls to try to answer this question, Merry, and hopefully your friend will be able to take advantage of services available to those who have access to the state’s Oregon Trail Card, which is mostly used for food benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

According to Sadie Carney, who handles media questions for the Self-Sufficiency arm of Oregon’s Department of Human Services, Amazon and Walmart have online purchasing programs through Oregon’s food and nutrition service.

“Other stores,” Carney added, “may allow for purchasing with an EBT card for curbside or delivery, but the person would need to reach out to the store to find out if it is possible. Delivery or other fees are not covered by SNAP benefits. To clarify: unless it is Walmart or Amazon, it is a store-by-store situation.”

SYA reached out to some of the larger big-box stores and none of them — not Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, WinCo or Ray’s Food Place — allow payments for delivery services to be made via the Oregon Trail Card, although Safeway and Albertsons indicated that may change in the next month or so. The Oregon Trail Card is generally accepted for each store’s parking lot pick-up service, however.

So the bottom line is, for those like Merry’s friend who would like to use their Oregon Trail Card but don’t want to go out in public, their only option currently is amazon.com or walmart.com.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.