Online nutrition assistance recipients redeemed $9.4 billion in benefits during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA’s Economic Research reported Tuesday the redemptions came from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, along with the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits, or P-EBT. The programs allowed users to buy groceries online from authorized retailers. The pilot launched with several retailers in 2019 and early 2020 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot opened to additional states and retailers in response to the pandemic. The number of participating retailers expanded significantly in the first two years of the pandemic. By December 2020, USDA authorized 13 retailers, growing to 116 in December 2021 and to 148 in March 2022. In 2020, SNAP and P-EBT recipients redeemed $1.5 billion in benefits online. In 2021, this amount more than quadrupled to $6.2 billion. Online redemptions in the first quarter of 2022 totaled $1.9 billion.
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