Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services announced last week that Illinois residents have a new retail option for using Electronic Benefit Transfer and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT SNAP) online through Instacart.  In a new partnership with ALDI, participants will be able to access fresh food and pantry staples from ALDI via Instacart's same-day delivery and pick-up services.

“The health and wellness of Illinois families is a top priority of my administration and I am pleased to announce this partnership which offers increased options for SNAP recipients to acquire groceries via online pickup or delivery,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that all Illinois families have access to healthy, nutritious options, regardless of their background.”

"We are pleased to see ALDI as the newest retailer option for Illinois residents who use EBT SNAP benefits and have access to healthy, affordable food. As we continue to navigate the effects of COVID-19, we are working to leverage increased opportunities for Illinois residents to use EBT SNAP payments for online grocery delivery and pick-up services in communities across the state," said Grace Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services.

“We applaud the Illinois Department of Human Services for working to include more retailers to the online EBT program,” said Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “The addition of ALDI greatly expands the reach of this program that allows Illinois households to purchase groceries online using SNAP benefits. This is a critical resource for our most vulnerable neighbors, including those unable to leave their homes. We are excited by this additional step toward more equitable food access in underserved communities, including those on Chicago’s South and West Sides and in the Cook County suburbs.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt all communities, but for our most vulnerable populations, it has exacerbated the inequalities that exist when it comes to accessing food,” said Andrew Nodes, VP of Retail at Instacart. “By unlocking the use of EBT SNAP benefits for grocery and delivery services at ALDI in Illinois, we’re helping to ensure that Illinoisans who lack transportation, are homebound with disability or illness, or are elderly can access fresh, nutritious food and supplies during the remainder of the pandemic and beyond. We’re proud of our partnership with Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Human Services and ALDI on this important initiative.”

“Food insecurity affects more than 37m Americans nationwide and this is especially critical within the Latino community. Due to the challenges so many families are navigating during the pandemic, this opportunity with Aldi is a real positive for families to obtain healthy options,” said State Senator Omar Aquino. “This is a step in the right direction to ease some of the challenges so many have been facing.”

"As Illinoisans continue to confront the daily challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, expanding safe access to food and providing increased flexibility to Illinois families is something that needs to be supported," said State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “It's encouraging to see a partnership work to address the day-to-day challenges many are facing in Illinois."

“This recent expansion of grocers that accept SNAP will not only help families that have been hurt by the pandemic but it's a game changer for maintaining the public health, mitigating unnecessary risks of contracting COVID, not to mention the respect and dignity it provides for families to make their own choices,” said Representative Natalie A. Manley (D-Joliet).

"It’s great that Aldi has joined with DHS to add more choices and convenience for SNAP families in Illinois. Hopefully more and more stores will join too,” said Majority Leader Greg Harris.

As part of this new program, EBT SNAP participants in Illinois will be able to shop from ALDI via the Instacart online site and mobile app. To begin, eligible SNAP customers can visit www.DHS.Illinois.gov/OnlineSNAP .

Once an Instacart customer profile is created, customers can enter their EBT food card information as a form of payment in their profile. (Customers will need a secondary form of payment for non-food items such as taxes, tips, and fees for delivery, per federal guidelines.)  Customers can shop and select items from ALDI's EBT SNAP-eligible products. After filling their online shopping carts, customers can choose grocery delivery or pickup for their order and determine how much of their SNAP benefit they would like to allocate to the order.

Illinois’ initial Online SNAP EBT option launched in June 2020 including Amazon and Walmart.  The Illinois Department of Human Services will continue working to encourage even more Illinois retailers to participate. 

Currently, any SNAP-Authorized Retailer can allow for customers to complete orders online and pay at the store when they pick up.  The Online EBT capability allows the customer to complete the entire transaction online and avoid completing the purchase at the retailer location.

The introduction of Instacart's EBT SNAP payments comes at a time when food insecurity across the nation continues to be impacted by COVID-19.

Any retailers interested in the program can find more information and apply at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/online-purchasing-pilot.