New Mexico families receiving food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will soon be able to use benefits to buy food online.
The USDA approved New Mexico’s application for the online program, the state Human Services Department announced today. Amazon and Walmart are the authorized online SNAP retailers for all states. The program expects to go live later this month.
“The new flexibility allows SNAP families to buy food through online purchasing meaning fewer trips to the store,” said Human Services Department Deputy Secretary Angela Medrano. “Ultimately, this means less face-to-face contact and an important opportunity to slow the spread of COVID-19 among New Mexicans.”
The Human Services Department applied for the new online purchasing program from USDA Food and Nutrition Service to strengthen food security for New Mexico families during the “stay at home” directives while the state fights the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel extended the state public health order.
“Many of our SNAP families are elderly, have kids with special needs, or health issues. The online SNAP purchasing program is a way to help keep them safe and ensure food assistance is available and easy to access,” said Karmela Martinez, Income Support Division director.
Martinez said these changes also represent an important modernization of SNAP at a time when more New Mexicans are using online services to purchase basic food and household items. She said she hopes to see the program continue even after the end of pandemic conditions in New Mexico.
The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to more than 1 million New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.