RALEIGH – Starting today, North Carolina Food and nutrition services (FNS) participants can purchase groceries online using their Electronic transfer of benefits (EBT) through Instacart.com or the Instacart mobile app, providing access to an additional authorized online EBT retailer, Food Lion. This flexibility will allow attendees to purchase food while promoting social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19[feminine] and will help families facing transportation and mobility barriers.
Users will be able to access their benefits for online grocery delivery and pickup when shopping through Instacart on the Food Lion storefront. Once the items have been added to their cart through Instacart.com or the Instacart mobile app, customers will be able to select how much of their benefit they wish to allocate to the order.
“Adding another retailer where people can use their EBT cards for online purchases continues to make the FNS program more accessible and convenient for families to shop safely, practice social distancing and get the nutrition they need during this pandemic,” said the NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Human Rights. Benefits Tara Myers.
To help subsidize the costs of EBT SNSF beneficiaries, until March 16, 2021, Instacart will waive delivery and/or pickup fees on the first three EBT FNS orders for each customer with a valid EBT card associated with their Instacart account.
Instacart’s latest EBT FNS extension in partnership with Food Lion is North Carolina’s fifth EBT retailer. In May 2020, North Carolina was one of the first 10 states to implement online purchasing for FNS, which will remain in place permanently beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
FNS Participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items from online retailers, but will not be able to use their benefits to pay for service or delivery charges. Entrant will be required to pay these fees with another form of payment, such as a debit or credit card.
Shopping online can provide several benefits to citizens of North Carolina, such as:
Promoting social distancing and self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Limit personal interactions for those at risk due to compromised health conditions.
Increase access to healthy foods for people with physical disabilities, transportation challenges, or those living in food deserts.
The US Department of Agriculture must approve retailers who wish to participate in the FNS online shopping program. NCDHHS encourages other EBT retailers to obtain USDA approval to become Authorized Online Retailers. All North Carolina EBT retailers have received information from the USDA on how to be approved for online FNS purchases. More information for retailers is available on the USDA website.
For more information about North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services, go to https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/food-nutrition-services-food-stampsand North Carolina individuals and families can apply for FNS at epass.nc.gov.