Fast food restaurants that accept EBT?! It’s true, folks. This is fresh from the fact-checker! If you’ve ever wondered if you can use your EBT benefits at fast food restaurants, the answer is yes… but only in certain circumstances.
Since the option to offer a Restaurant Meal Program is left to the states, we’ve researched each state to find out if YOU can use your food stamps at local restaurants!
Alabama doesn’t offer the Restaurant Meals Program but they DO offer free U-Pick Strawberry farms, $5 spay/neuter pet surgeries and more!
Alaska offers museum discounts, dollar doubling programs at Farmer’s Markets and more… but no Restaurant Meals Program. 🙁
Arizona allows disabled, elderly and homeless SNAP recipients to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.
As of March 2017, eligible clients can use your SNAP benefits at the following fast food restaurants that accept EBT in Arizona:
- Burger Shoppe (Phoenix)
- Carls Jr.
- CiCi’s Pizza (Phoenix)
- Dairy Queen (Phoenix)
- Denny’s (Phoenix)
- Dominos Pizza
- El Pollo Loco
- Fat Sub LLC (Lake Havasu City)
- Golden Corral (Mesa)
- Gyros & Burgers Restaurant(Glendale)
- Jack in the Box
- Moon Light Family Restaurant (Phoenix)
- Papa Johns Pizza
- Rally’s Hamburgers (Yuma)
- Taco Bell
- Take or Bake Pizza (Glendale)
In order to qualify, every member of the household must meet ONE of the following requirements. Not all household members have to meet the same requirement.
- Age 60+
- Homeless (does not have a fixed/regular nighttime residence)
- Disabled (receiving Social Security, Railroad Retirement benefits, VA or other disability payments)
Arkansas allows you to use food stamps at farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, but not restaurants.
California offers the Restaurant Meals Program in many different counties! Each county makes their own rules but you can find a county-by-county list of restaurants that accept EBT in California by clicking here!
Restaurants that accept EBT include:
- Burger King
- Carl’s Jr.
- Church’s Chicken
- Del Taco
- Domino’s Pizza
- Great Steaks
- Jamba Juice
- Pizza Hut
- Click here for the rest!
Colorado offers some amazing discounts on museum admission (including a $10 per YEAR family membership to WOW! Children’s Museum) and other benefits… but no Restaurant Meals Program.
Connecticut offers free and cheap museum admission deals and other benefits… but they do not offer the Restaurant Meals Program.
Delaware will give you a State Parks Pass for $10, pro bono legal services and other discounted memberships… but no fast food with your EBT card.
Qualifying SNAP recipients can use their benefits at the following fast food restaurants that accept EBT in Alachua County:
- Pizza Hut
- Taco Bell
Georgia invites you to explore free museums, enjoy organic food deliveries and more… but the state does not offer a Restaurant Meals Program.
Hawaii allows disabled, homeless or elderly SNAP recipients and their spouses can use their benefits at fast food restaurants that accept EBT. Information about this program is incredibly limited. I was only able to find a reference to it in this Hawaii.gov document.
Idaho does not offer a Restaurant Meals Program but they do offer other benefits, like discounted spay/neuter service, weatherization assistance and discounted museum programs!
Illinois invites you to explore Shedd Aquarium (FREE), Adler Planetarium ($1/person) and dozens of other venues for free or very cheap… but they don’t let you buy fast food with your EBT card.
Indiana offers lots of museum discounts, discounted YMCA memberships and more… but no Restaurant Meals Program.
Kansas will double your dollars at farmer’s markets, provide recreation scholarships and more… but no fast food with your EBT card.
Kentucky doesn’t offer the Restaurant Meals Program but they do have a discounted museum!
Louisiana doesn’t offer the Restaurant Meals Program but they do offer museum discounts, CSA coop discounts and more!
Maine offers museum discounts, free farmer’s market produce and more to EBT card holders… but they don’t let you use your EBT card at restaurants.
Maryland will give you discounted admission to three museums, double your money at farmer’s markets and more… but no restaurants with your EBT card.
Massachusetts has some excellent programs for EBT recipients! You can get discounts at over a dozen museums, participate in the Healthy Incentives Program and more! Unfortunately, they do not offer a Restaraunt Meals Program.
Michigan has, unfortunately, discontinued their Restaurant Meals Program. Although you can no longer buy Church’s Chicken, McDonald’s or Mr. T’s BBQ with EBT, you can still get more than 10 museum discounts (including FREE memberships to Great Lake’s Children’s Museum) and more!
Minnesota offers great museum discounts, discounted YMCA membership and more… but no restaurant programs.
Mississippi doesn’t participate in the RMP but they do offer museum discounts and other benefits.
Montana will double your money at community farms, provide museum discounts and more… but they do not participate in RMP.
Nebraska offers sliding-scale medical and dental services, free museum memberships and more! Hoewever, they do not participate in any restaurant programs.
Nevada will let you shop at farmer’s markets and CSA programs but not any fast food venues.
New Hampshire can help you save money on your power bill, provide discount veterinary care and more… but they don’t participate in any RMP programs.
New Jersey can help EBT cardholders take care of their pets cheaper… but they won’t let you spend those food stamps dollars at restaurants.
New Mexico provides free museum memberships, double up food dollars programs and more… but no restaurant meals programs.
New York has some absolutely unbelievable benefits for EBT cardholders… but they still won’t let you spend your food stamps dollars at restaurants.
North Carolina get free fishing licences and discounted museum entry… but NC doesn’t offer an RMP program.
North Dakota offers help with prescriptions, energy costs and more… but they won’t let you buy restaurant meals with that EBT card.
Ohio offers discounts at nearly a dozen museums, YMCA discounts and more… but no RMP.
Oklahoma offers other EBT benefits but no fast food or restaurant purchases.
Oregon has some of the best EBT benefits we’ve found. They’ll even let you book concert tickets for $5! however, they still won’t let you use your food stamps at restaurants.
Pennsylvania offers EBT cardholders dozens of museum discounts. They even have discounts for minigolf and carousels! Unfortunately, they still won’t let you buy restaurant meals with your food stamps card.
Rhode Island residents who are age 60+, disabled or homeless (living in a shelter, halfway house, or even staying temporarily with someone else) can use their EBT benefits at certain participating restaurants.
In 2017, the list of Rhode Island restaurants that accept EBT include:
- Subway (10 locations)
South Carolina offers $2 tickets to the Philharmonic, museum discounts and other deals… but no restaurant meals program.
South Dakota offers museum discounts, free u-pick strawberries and potentially even property tax discounts for EBT cardholders! Unfortunately, they do not authorize restaurant purchases for food stamps.
Tennessee offers some great deals with your EBT card, including a $25 per year family membership to Adventure Science Center in Nashville! However, they won’t let you use your food stamps to buy food at restaurants.
Texas offers discounts at Houston Zoo and five other venues with your EBT card. Although they have other perks, they do not offer a RMP.
Utah doesn’t offer a Restaurant Meals Program but they do offer museum discounts and other perks to those with EBT cards!
Vermont offers seasonal fuel assistance and other benefits to those with EBT cards… but they do not have a restaurant meals program.
Virginia has a lot of different programs for EBT recipients but they don’t authorize restaurant purchases.
Washington has many discounted museums. Take-and-bake restaurants like Leonardi’s and Figaro’s will bake your pizzas for you for an extra non-EBT dollar. However, no other restaurants are authorized.
West Virginia EBT cardholders can visit Spark! Imagination and Science Center for FREE and enjoy other benefits… but they can’t buy food at restaurants.
Wisconsin has great museum discounts, CSA programs and other deals… but no RMP.
Wyoming has some epic farmer’s markets programs that will double your money and even give your children free money to spend! However, they don’t have RMP.
What is the purpose of the Restaurant Meals Program?
Aaron Lavalllee, communications coordinator for the USDA Office of Communications, wrote:
(The) Restaurant Meal Program has been an option for states — state run, state contracted, state administered — since the 1977 Food Stamp Act. The decision to establish a restaurant meal program is made entirely at the state level.
Most importantly, the ONLY people who qualify are the elderly, disabled, and homeless, as this provision is intended to assist people who are unable to prepare meals at home or in a traditional kitchen setting. This key fact and requirement of the law is mentioned nowhere in your article and we can both agree that with that clarification this story changes drastically.
Since 1977 the decision to establish a restaurant meal program has been made by only a handful of states and because of this participation is very low.
How can I bring this program to my area?
If you would like to see the Restaurant Meals Program enacted in your area, contact your local lawmakers! You can easily find your elected officials on USA.gov. As we said before, this option has been available to states since 1977 but is very rarely used.
To help you, we’ve drafted a sample message below. You can copy and paste it, if you’d like – just be sure to change the names!
Dear [Elected Official],
Since 1977, the federal Food Stamp Act has given states the ability to enact the Restaurant Meals Program. This program allows vulnerable and at-risk populations, such as the homeless and elderly, who cannot cook meals for themselves at home. Through this program, these specific, qualifying individuals are allowed to use their food benefits to purchase affordable meals at select restaurants such as Subway. For more information about this program, you can visit LowIncomeRelief.com (https://lowincomerelief.com/fast-food-restaurants-ebt/).
This program has been successfully adopted in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, and Rhode Island. However, it is not yet available in our state.
Please take action to introduce the Restaurant Meals Program in our state.
Keep me posted about any responses you receive! I’d love to see this program rolled out to other states where it can help those who need it! 🙂