LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – California residents who are in the CalFresh program — and struggling to make ends meet in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic — will now be able to use their EBT cards online to purchase food through Amazon and Walmart.

Volunteers help load food as vehicles arrive at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank drive-thru giveaway in Pico Rivera, Calif., on April 28, 2020. (Getty Images)

The California Department of Social Services announced Tuesday that the state received a waiver from the federal government to allow CalFresh recipients use the EBT cards to buy groceries online.

Amazon and Walmart are the only federally approved online retailers, but the state is hoping to add more.

“We will continue to work with our federal partners to bring additional retailers on board as quickly as possible,” CDSS Director Kim Johnson said in a statement.

More than 4 million Californians receive CalFresh benefits, which range from $16 to $194 a month per person. CalFresh is the larges nutrition assistance program in the U.S.

Meanwhile, CalFresh is also increasing food benefits for families with children who would otherwise have received free breakfast or lunch at their schools. The program, called Pandemic EBT, is giving families up to $365 in additional money per child which they can use on groceries. CalFresh recipients with children will automatically receive P-EBT cards in May. Those who do not can apply here. The deadline is June 30.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday said that 3.8 million families are eligible for the P-EBT program, which has obtained up to $1.4 billion in federal funding through the CARES Act which Congress passed in late March.

At least 3.7 million California residents have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

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