DHS Works with USDA and Retailers to Make Grocery Shopping Flexible and Safe for FoodShare Household

Beginning today, May 21, Wisconsin households that use FoodShare will be able to shop online at the two grocery retailers currently set up at the national level to accept online payment (Amazon and Walmart). FoodShare, the state’s program that helps Wisconsinites with limited resources buy the food they need for good health, has seen an increase in applications since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides funds to eligible households to purchase groceries using what looks like a debit card.

To support members in safely using their benefits during the pandemic, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) applied to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expedite implementation of online purchasing for FoodShare benefits. That application was approved last week.

“Even though online purchasing is currently limited to just the two national retailers, it is one option to help people physical distance while doing their food shopping,” said Jim Jones, Director of the Division of Medicaid Services, which administers the FoodShare program. “DHS will support Wisconsin-based grocery stores interested in accepting FoodShare benefits online as they work with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to become authorized.” More information about this opportunity is available on the FNS website.

The online purchasing program is not the only distance shopping option for households eligible for FoodShare. Individual retailers are implementing other flexibilities on their own. For example, some grocers have set up processes to allow individuals to place orders online or over the phone and then pay in person, either curbside or in the store. Shoppers should contact their favorite stores to learn more about what options might be available.

Additional information about FoodShare during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at the DHS website.

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