If you are a SNAP beneficiary, you know that it isn’t easy to find any online meal delivery services that accept EBT. It may leave you wondering: do meal delivery kits accept EBT?
There are good reasons why you might need to find one. Maybe the nearby grocery store isn’t well-stocked, or you are short on time to visit a crowded store. You’ll want to subscribe to a meal delivery service and have groceries and pre-packaged foods delivered right to your doorstep.
Finding meal delivery kits that accept EBT near me can be a game-changer in your life. The online food stores can save you time, money from gas, and the energy of shopping, in addition to the great value of getting fresh and nutritious meals.
Do any meal delivery kits accept EBT?
Short Answer: Currently, Top Box Foods seems to be the only meal delivery service that accepts EBT. Its top competitors, Hello Fresh and Blue Apron don’t accept EBT as a payment method. That means SNAP recipients have limited options because most meal delivery services don’t accept EBT cards.
But there is hope. SNAP has started making some good changes that may help solve all the difficulties disadvantaged recipients face when making payments online with SNAP funds.
Recently, USDA has launched a federal pilot program geared towards allowing states to add EBT cards as an online payment option so that grocery stores and meal delivery services can start accepting EBT and SNAP food stamps. Stores like Aldi via Instacart, Fresh Direct, Whole Foods, and other grocery outlets are already participating in this pilot program in select states.
Among meal delivery services, Top Box Foods is the only one participating in this pilot program and accepts SNAP benefits via LINK Cards. Payments must be made in person on the delivery day with the EBT card in hand.
Blue Apron and Hello Fresh aren’t participating in this program and only accept common standard payment options like credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and gift cards. They will not process a debit card without a PIN number.
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Who Qualifies for Snap?
SNAP is a federally funded program that provides food and nutritional assistance to children and low-income families. The goal is to lessen hunger in the US by supplementing the food budget for low pay families. The SNAP benefits are administered at the state level to make administration smoother.
You’ll need to apply for food stamp benefits in your state of residence. To qualify for SNAP benefits, applicants must meet the requirements, with income being the main criteria.
Once approved, you’ll qualify for food stamp benefits. A SNAP account with the details of your financial needs is loaded every month. You’ll then receive an EBT card to buy from approved retailers directly from your food stamp account balance.
Do Any Meal Delivery Services Accept EBT?
Meal kits are subscription food and grocery services that focus on sending pre-portioned and sometimes partially-prepared food ingredients and recipes to customers for home preparation. Thus, most meal kit food items are EBT eligible since they don’t fall under “hot, prepared meals.” That is why it isn’t easy to find fast food places that take food stamps.
Top Box Foods is currently the only meal delivery service that allows customers to order food online with EBT.
Unfortunately, popular meal delivery services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh don’t accept EBT. If you want to order food from either of them, you’ll need to use an alternative payment method like a debit card or credit card with a smart chip, mobile payment like Apple pay, Google Pay, PayPal, American Express gift cards, or retail gift cards.
Alternatively, you can get food delivery from grocery stores that accept EBT. Fresh Direct is among the grocery stores participating in the federal pilot program allowing customers to purchase groceries and other SNAP-eligible products online. Customers select the EBT option at checkout and then pay in person with their EBT card when their order is delivered.
The only downside is that Fresh Direct requires that EBT customers place a minimum order of $30, and they don’t deliver nationwide. Their food delivery services are limited in six northwest states, including New Jersey, Washington DC, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
But Fresh Direct isn’t the only option. You can look into online grocery chains like Aldi and Whole Foods or retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry both accept EBT food benefits. Plus, EBT or Medicaid recipients ordering food online via Amazon receive a discount on their Prime membership.
If you are looking to order hot, prepared meals online with your EBT card, you’ll also face similar limitations. It’s because most states do not participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), and you can’t use your EBT funds to purchase hot, prepared restaurant meals.
Even in the states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, you won’t find many food delivery services that accept EBT. It’s only Instacart and Uber Eats, to some degree, that has recently started accepting EBT cards in limited locations.
Does Top Box Foods Take EBT?
Top Box Foods accepts SNAP benefits via LINK Cards payments. That means customers can use SNAP benefits to purchase Top Box Foods online and have their order shipped home.
But EBT benefits aren’t processed online at the time of purchase. Place your order online and then wait for delivery. Your EBT benefits will be processed in person on the delivery date with the EBT card in hand to complete the payment.
To make it easier for you, Top Box Foods gives different payment options as follows:
- Pre-pay: You make the payment online via the website or over the phone when placing the order. Allowable payment options include PayPal and credit/debit cards.
- Post-pay: You make the payment on the delivery day. Eligible payment methods include SNAP EBT card, credit/debit cards, money order, cash, or personal check and no third-party checks.
You’ll select the post-pay option if you want to order food online from Top Box Foods with your EBT card. Your order will likely arrive on the second weekend of every month. Mark the delivery date and have your EBT card with you to complete the payment.
Another good thing about Top Box Foods is that they don’t have minimum or maximum EBT order requirements. Plus, you can order any time before the monthly deadline, usually the Tuesday before the delivery weekend.
Can You Use EBT for HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is the largest meal kit delivery service in the United States. Unfortunately, Hello Fresh doesn’t take food stamps for its meal kit delivery service. It’s also not participating in the federal pilot program geared towards enabling EBT cardholders to make purchases online.
Per customer representatives and information from the HelloFresh website help section, the meal-kit provider only accepts Visa, America Express, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards. They also accept PayPal and debit cards with a Visa or Mastercard logo.
In the future, HelloFresh states its plans to add more payment methods to give customers more flexibility and convenience at check out. It remains to be seen whether adding EBT cards is one of the future payment options.
In the meantime, consider grocery delivery services like Fresh Direct and Instacart that accept EBT in select states. Otherwise, shop for food and groceries from retailers like Walmart and Amazon that accept EBT for in-store pick-ups and home delivery.
Does Blue Apron Take EBT?
Blue Apron is an ingredient-and-recipe meal-kit service known for making cooking fun and easy. It provides customers with the ingredients they need in the right proportions to make delicious meals at home.
Can SNAP recipients buy food online from Blue Apron using EBT cards?
Unfortunately, Blue Apron doesn’t take EBT payments for its meal delivery service. Per the company’s FAQ and information from customer service representatives, Blue Apron doesn’t accept any form of food stamps or EBT.
They only accept Visa, American Express, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards. You can also make payments with Apple pay and debit cards bearing the Visa or Mastercard logo.
But all is not lost for SNAP recipients. Other online food and grocery delivery services allow ordering food online with your food stamp benefits. The USDA is also operating a pilot program in select states that will enable SNAP recipients to order food and groceries online with their EBT cards.
Fresh Direct, Instacart, and to some extent Uber Eats, are among the top online food delivery services that are currently participating in the pilot program.
Can I Use EBT for Food Truck Delivery?
No, food truck delivery is not an authorized SNAP EBT benefit retailer. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, most card benefits are spent at superstores and supermarkets. Less than 2% are at butchers, bakeries, seafood places, or markets selling agricultural products.
Meal Delivery Kits That Accept EBT Summary
Right now, SNAP recipients are limited when it comes to finding meal delivery services that accept EBT. The only meal delivery kit that currently accepts EBT is Top Box Foods. Both Blue Apron and HelloFresh don’t accept food stamps or EBT.
But there is hope for SNAP beneficiaries. USDA is running a pilot program for EBT grocery delivery. Hopefully, many meal delivery services will continue to join the program and add EBT to their payment methods.
In the meantime, SNAP recipients can get food delivery from grocery stores and online retailers that accept EBT. The top participants are Direct Fresh, Amazon, Walmart, Aldi, and Whole Foods.
You can also contact your local or state agencies for a list of grocery stores and retailers that offer in-store pick-up and online grocery delivery services to your home. See the USDA SNAP Retailer Locator that shows authorized retailers by entering your zip code or street address, city, and state. It’s incredibly easy!