May 12, 2020

Duckworth, Durbin, Casey, Colleagues Push to Expand Food Delivery for SNAP Recipients During Pandemic


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Bob Casey (D-PA) and a bipartisan group of Senators in calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately work to ensure that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants can receive home food delivery and curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented rise in unemployment and a subsequent increase in demand for food assistance. At the same time, social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders have made it challenging—and unsafe—for many individuals to travel to purchase food. This is especially true for seniors and immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, as well as individuals with disabilities and families who lack reliable transportation. We believe that no individual or family should be disadvantaged simply because they rely on SNAP benefits to access the food they need,” the Senators wrote in the letter to USDA. 

USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot makes it possible for SNAP participants to purchase groceries via delivery, but its availability remains limited to the states and retailers who have opted in to the program. In addition to expanding the Online Purchasing Pilot, the Senators urged USDA to answer key questions and to maximize and the alternative mechanisms that exist to facilitate delivery for SNAP participants.

Duckworth, Durbin and Casey were joined by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

A copy of the letter can be found here.