Does Burger King take EBT? Many people wonder if Burger King and other fast food establishments accept SNAP / EBT as a form of payment. The answer is…well…It depends. Whether your local Burger King takes EBT depends on a number of factors, including where you live, what benefits you have on your EBT card, and whether you are elderly, disabled, or experiencing homelessness.
Low Income Relief has the scoop on a little known program from the US Department of Agriculture that might expand your EBT purchasing options, as well as information on how you can use EBT cash benefits. Read on for more!
First, the basics
First, let’s talk about what EBT is. EBT cards are used for both SNAP benefits (aka. food stamps) and TANF (aka. cash benefits). You might have both, or you might only have SNAP. It is unlikely that you would have only TANF / cash benefits without SNAP / food stamps.
Historically, it has only been legal to use SNAP / food stamp benefits for foods that will be prepared at home. In other words, you can usually only use SNAP to purchase things like meat, vegetables, bread, milk, eggs, and non-alcoholic beverages. SNAP can also be used to purchase seeds and plants that can be consumed as food.
In addition to prohibited items like cigarettes, alcohol, vitamins and supplements, paper goods, and cleaning products, the purchase of hot foods and restaurant foods has typically not been allowed with SNAP.
TANF / Cash benefits are different. When you withdraw cash from an ATM using your EBT card, you can use that cash however you see fit. The rest of this article will address the use of SNAP benefits, but it is important to note the greater flexibility of TANF benefits for those who have them.
So, does Burger King take EBT?
Does Burger King take EBT? It might! But the answer depends on a few factors. First, the good news.
A little known federal program called the Restaurant Meals Program allows SNAP recipients who are experiencing homelessness, who are senior citizens, or who are disabled, to purchase low cost restaurant meals. For those who have difficulty preparing foods at home due to physical limitations, or simply because they do not have a fully functioning kitchen, the Restaurant Meals Program is a lifesaver.
The problem is that it is up to each individual state to decide whether they will utilize the program, and only six states have implemented the program. Two additional states have decided to begin utilizing the Restaurant Meals Program, but have not yet made the option available.
Does Burger King take EBT? If you live in Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island or Virginia, the answer is yes. If you live in Illinois or New York, the program is on its way to your state.
It is also important to remember that in addition to living in one of the states mentioned above, you must also have difficulty preparing meals at home due to disability, homelessness, or age.
Why does Burger King take EBT in some states and not others?
The US Department of Agriculture, which administers SNAP has decided that states are allowed to offer the Restaurant Meals Program, but it is up to each state to decide whether they want to make the program available to SNAP recipients or not.
Only Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, Virginia, New York, and Illinois have decided to offer the Restaurant Meals Program to their residents. If you want to see this program implemented in your state, make your voice heard! Try reaching out to your state legislators, and spread the word to friends and loved ones.
For more information on how to use your EBT card at fast food restaurants, check out this article from Low Income Relief’s founder.