Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter to Hon. Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, urging his agency to adopt rules making it easier for consumers to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits online using Electronic Benefit Transfers (EBT) cards.
“As we work to change habits and promote healthier food options, we must also do everything we can to create the opportunity of affordable choices,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Allowing consumers to use their EBT card as one might use their own credit or debit card to purchase groceries will lead to lower prices and greater options for those living in food deserts or facing food insecurity, and I urge the federal government to update their regulations to account for ongoing advances in technology.”
“If healthy food is either economically unaffordable or physically unavailable, that increases hunger and harms community nutrition," said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide advocacy group. “That's why the federal government must keep pace with current technology by enabling more low-income families who rely on SNAP and live in food deserts to be able to use their benefits to order healthy food online. I thank Borough President Diaz for his partnership on this important issue.”
Borough President Diaz initial proposed such changes in his “State of the Borough” address this past February.
“We will make healthy food options more easily available by urging the Department of Agriculture to change its rules to allow the use of EBT benefits to purchase from online vendors,” said Borough President Diaz during the speech. “Affordable nutrition should not be a victim of antiquated regulations.”
Borough President Diaz’s full letter to Secretary Vilsack can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/2a3x3zS.