Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a more convenient way for income-eligible families to receive Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Monthly SNAP allotments are loaded onto an EBT card, allowing recipients to easily pay for groceries.
EBT is accepted in many stores and supermarkets nationwide, but not every restaurant accepts EBT. If you qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), you might wonder what fast food places take EBT.
This post will help you locate restaurants that accept EBT and explain the eligibility criteria for using SNAP benefits at fast food places.
What Is the Restaurant Meal Program?
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the government agency that runs SNAP, and it has strict rules regarding how SNAP benefits are used. Hot or prepared meals for on-the-spot consumption are not eligible purchases under SNAP rules.
However, considering that some SNAP beneficiaries might be unable to prepare their own meals, the Restaurant Meals Program was created to help such Food Stamps recipients.
The program allows RMP-eligible SNAP recipients to buy prepared meals at fast food joints using their SNAP benefits. Participating restaurants in the RMP are required to offer meals to SNAP beneficiaries at reduced prices.
Which States Participate in the Restaurant Meal Program?
According to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, only seven states currently participate in the RMP. These include:
- Rhode Island
Fast food places in these states that want to participate in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program must request authorization from the USDA to accept EBT cards. Once approved, the restaurant will program its credit/debit card equipment to accept EBT cards.
Fast Food Places That Accept EBT
If you live in any of the above states, you should be able to find a restaurant that accepts EBT. But exactly what fast food places take EBT in participating states? The following fast food chains accept SNAP food stamp benefits:
- Burger King
- Domino’s Pizza
- Rally’s Hamburgers
- Taco Bell
- Jack in the Box
- Jamba Juice
- Dairy Queen
- Carl’s Jr
- CiCi’s Pizza
- WaBa Grill
- Great Steaks
- Golden Corral
- Pizza Hut
- Uncle Sams
- Papa Murphy’s
- El Pollo Loco
- Burger Shoppe
Keep in mind that participation varies between states and locations, so not all the food chains above may take part in the RMP in all supporting states.
Who Can Use EBT at Fast Food Restaurants?
Not all SNAP benefit recipients can pay for fast food using EBT. You must meet certain eligibility requirements, even if you live in a state that participates in the RMP.
The RMP is specifically designed for SNAP clients who do not have a place to call home where they can store and prepare food. Also, SNAP beneficiaries who cannot cook for themselves might be eligible for the RMP in a supporting state.
To qualify for the RMP, you must be eligible to receive SNAP benefits in your state and live in a state that has an RMP.
In addition to the above, you must show verifiable proof of at least one of the following:
- Disability: Everyone in your household must be considered permanently disabled by a government agency. In other words, you should be able to show evidence of receiving disability retirement benefits or disability payments from the government.
- Elderly: You and members of your household are 60 years or older, making it difficult to prepare your own meals.
- Homeless: You and those in your household don’t have a permanent residence where you call home. This means you live in a temporary home, such as a halfway house or shelter. Also, you are considered homeless if you temporarily stay in another person’s house.
In addition, the spouse of an RMP-eligible SNAP beneficiary can use EBT benefits at a participating fast food restaurant.
How Do Participating Fast Food Places Determine RMP Eligibility?
Fast food places participating in RMP are not responsible for determining whether you qualify to use EBT benefits in their food joints. But that doesn’t mean all SNAP recipients can use their EBT cards in participating restaurants.
Each SNAP recipient who qualifies for the RMP in a supporting state will get a coded EBT card that allows them to dine at participating fast food restaurants in the state.
The point-of-sale (POS) device in participating fast food restaurants will automatically decline your EBT card if you are not eligible for the RMP.
If you are disabled, homeless, or elderly, you might be eligible for the RMP. It all starts by qualifying for Food Stamps or SNAP EBT benefits. Click here to learn how to apply for Food Stamps in your state.