Michigan SNAP recipients can now use their benefits to purchase groceries online and have them delivered to their home or pick them up without a fee for their first three orders by mid-March, through a partnership between Aldi chain stores and online grocery platform Instacart.
Customers can pay online using the Electronic Benefit Transfer and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT-SNAP) — more commonly known as food stamps — at nearly 1,000 more Aldi stores across 23 states, including Michigan, and Washington, D.C., according to a December news release.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture added Michigan to a SNAP pilot program allowing customers to purchase food online with their benefits. In Michigan, Aldi joins retailers like Amazon and Walmart also providing grocery delivery services to SNAP recipients.
“As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, we recognize the important role Instacart and its retail partners play in making same-day grocery delivery and pickup available to more people nationwide,” said Andrew Nodes, vice president of retail at Instacart, in a news release.
More than 1.2 million people in Michigan receive SNAP benefits, according to the state health department. Michigan extended extra food stamp benefits to 350,000 Michigan families for December, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state plans to continue requesting these extra benefits each month and issue them to families in 2021 so long as the federal government approves them, Bob Wheaton, a spokesperson for the state’s health department, said last month.
The latest federal stimulus bill signed into law Dec. 27 expands food stamp benefits, with $13 billion — of the $900 billion package — earmarked for food assistance. The bill includes a 15% increase in SNAP benefits and provides additional funding for food banks, senior nutrition programs, and adding more retailers to online SNAP.
Michigan was added to Instacart and Aldi ‘s most recent expansion of its pilot program to allow online customers to use food stamps. In November, the program began in more than 60 store locations in Georgia and in December, expanded to more than 570 stores across the country.
“This service is now available at nearly 90% of ALDI stores, across 29 states and Washington, D.C., following successful pilot in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.” said Scott Patton, vice president of national customer interaction services for ALDI U.S., in a news release.
Here’s how it will work:
SNAP participants can shop at Aldi via Instacart’s online website and mobile app. Once they create an Instacart profile, customers can enter their food stamp information as a form of payment. They will need another form of payment for taxes, tips and fees, per SNAP guidelines.
Customers can enter their ZIP code to find participating Aldi stores and select items that are EBT-SNAP eligible. Once products are in their cart, they can choose how much of their benefits they want to allocate to their order.
Aldi delivery and pickup through Instacart will be available daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
Instacart is waiving delivery and pickup fees on customers’ first three EBT-SNAP orders for a 90-day period which started Dec. 16. According to Instacart’s website, delivery fees start at $3.99 for same-day orders of more than $35. There will be a notification of the delivery fee when choosing the delivery time and day. As for pickups, there is a “pickup fee” that is typically $1.99 for what it calls non-Express members, according to Instacart.
All 88 Aldi stores in Michigan are participating in the program, said Ryan Fritsch, Webberville division vice president for Aldi, in a statement. Customers can find a participating Aldi store through Instacart by entering their ZIP code.
Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and BridgeDetroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Click here to support her work.