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When Did Amazon Start Accepting EBT?

When Did Amazon Start Accepting EBT?

Amazon first announced that they would start accepting EBT for some limited food purchases in early 2017. This program was thrilling to our audience, and we first published this post on January 17, 2017.

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Obviously, it has been many years since this began and the program has changed significantly over time. We are currently updating this post to reflect those changes.

In this article, we will address when Amazon began accepting EBT, why that change was made, and how it has affected low income people across America.

When did Amazon start accepting EBT?

Amazon announced that the company would start accepting EBT benefits for some food orders in early 2017. This was part of a trial program, and it was limited to participants in only a few states.

However, the introduction of this program was very exciting. Previous to this, it was not possible to use your EBT benefits at online retailers and that made things very difficult for low income families who needed this service.

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At the same time, Amazon announced that low income customers could also save more than 50% off Amazon Prime if you have Medicaid or food stamps!

What was the Amazon pilot program like?

In our initial announcement of this program, we reported the following:

“Amazon has finally started accepting some EBT cards for online grocery orders! The program hopes to make shopping easier for working moms, the elderly and disabled who don’t have time or access to physical stores.

They currently accept SNAP EBT payments in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Washington

The downside? The limited pilot program only works in certain areas.”

We also reported that Amazon would only allow EBT users to pay for eligible items that were shipped and sold by Amazon. Third-party purchases from the Marketplace were not supported.

Eligible shoppers were promised that any eligible grocery items would be marked as “SNAP EBT eligible.” Since only products that are shipped and sold by Amazon were eligible, sometimes items that would normally be EBT-eligible were not marked that way simply because they were sold by a third-party seller. SNAP could not pay for “subscribe and save” subscription items, either.

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Anyone who was interested in trying the pilot only had to follow a simple three step process to get started:

  1. Add the SNAP card to the Amazon account.
  2. Shop for groceries.
  3. Enter the PIN to check out.

From the beginning, Amazon has not allowed shoppers to use their SNAP funds to pay for delivery fees. You have to use a secondary payment method for any non-food items or charges, including delivery fees.

How has the Amazon EBT program changed?

The Amazon EBT pilot has undergone many changes over the years. The program has expanded to include other Amazon services, like Amazon Fresh or deliveries from Whole Foods Market, and it has also spread to more states.

As of January 2023, Amazon will accept SNAP purchases from every state except Alaska. This is a huge improvement over the initial seven states that were accepted into the pilot program!

Amazon offers EBT discounts, too!

Fortunately, you can get a discounted Amazon Prime membership if you have EBT or Medicaid!

Walmart, ShopRite and other providers will also be able to accept EBT cards for online orders in participating states.

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Summary

Amazon’s acceptance of EBT changed the online shopping experience for millions of low income Americans by allowing them to conveniently purchase food online for home delivery. The fact that Amazon offers a steep Amazon discount to these shoppers makes it even better. Although this program has grown and expanded over time, it remains a valuable resource for low income Americans.

Aaron Gyes

Thursday 11th of June 2020

Amazon presently says they accept EBT in the following states:

Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming