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Next year, Uber Eats is hoping to make it a little easier for everyone to access fresh groceries. The food delivery app is rolling out a new update that will allow people to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) at Uber Eats.
Starting January 2024, people who use SNAP/EBT for groceries will be able to apply those benefits to purchases on Uber Eats.
“We know that online food delivery can have a meaningful impact in reducing barriers to fresh groceries, especially for the most vulnerable — including people living in food deserts, seniors, and those facing disabilities or transportation barriers,” Uber Eats said in a statement.
Around 23.5 million Americans are estimated to live in food deserts. A food desert is an area in which residents do not have easy access to fresh produce and a variety of nutritious foods. These areas have limited access to affordable grocery stores, so people who live there get their supplies from convenience stores and local fast-food restaurants.
Uber Eats is not your only option for grocery delivery if you have SNAP/EBT. You can also use SNAP benefits to order via Instacart. Depending on what state you live in, you might also be able to use SNAP/EBT for Walmart’s online ordering options.
If you’re doing curbside pickup, you can also use SNAP/EBT at Kroger. And Amazon allows customers to link their SNAP cards with their accounts so that they can use these benefits when shopping on their website (be aware that not every state allows for this).
Uber Eats hopes that being compatible with SNAP/EBT gives Americans who live in food deserts more access to fresh foods via delivery. This could be a major win for people without reliable transportation or people with disabilities.
Additionally, Uber Eats says that it is focusing on making its services even more inclusive by accepting Flex cards and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cards in the future. In its statement, Uber Eats says that it’s working with Medicare and Medicaid to permit these waiver payments starting next year.
These flexible spending options could not have come at a better time. The number of Americans who are food insecure has increased in recent months. Experts say that inflation and the end of COVID benefits have led to an uptick in hunger across the country. About one in four adults lives in a food-insecure household, according to a recent study.
To see if you qualify for SNAP and to find food banks in your area, visit Feeding America’s website and enter your location.
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.