SNAP users can order groceries online for first time

People walk through the produce department at a grocery store in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

SNAP recipients can buy groceries through an online retailer starting next week, providing a convenient alternative to getting their food and supplies without traveling to the store. 

Beginning Feb. 26, Thrive Market will accept SNAP EBT nationwide. EBT cardholders who join Thrive Market as new members can get a free membership and access to items in the online store.

Thrive Market, a healthy and sustainable online grocery store, will be the first online retailer to receive approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to accept SNAP EBT, according to a company release.

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Right now, California SNAP EBT recipients are able to sign up for a Thrive Market membership and access the store's products, the release notes. 

"Thrive Market’s SNAP EBT acceptance is a groundbreaking move in making healthy groceries more accessible and affordable," Nick Green, Thrive Market co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "Our acceptance will redefine how Americans can access healthy options, irrespective of their geography, with deliveries directly to their door."

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Last year, Instacart, the popular online grocery delivery service, started accepting food stamp (SNAP) benefits in all 50 states.

What is SNAP?

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a federal program providing nutrition benefits to low-income individuals and families that are used at stores to purchase food, according to the USDA website. 

The program is administered through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and its network of FNS field offices. Local FNS field offices are responsible for the licensing and monitoring of retail food stores participating in SNAP.

More than 40 million Americans get help to buy groceries each month through SNAP

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.