Where you can use food stamps at low-cost restaurants

THE Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is helping more than 41.5million Americans put food on the table.

SNAP is the largest federal nutrition assistance program and now it’s allowing some recipients to use their SNAP money at select restaurants.

Six states allows older adults to use their SNAP benefits at select, low-cost restaurants

SNAP provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families.

The benefits are paid on a specific day each month, depending on your state.

The money is provided through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card which is used like a debit card to buy food at authorized retail food stores. 

You must apply for SNAP in the state in which you live.

Each state has a different application form and process.

The federal government has expanded the program to allow states to participate in the SNAP restaurant meals program (RMP).


What is the SNAP restaurant meals program?

The SNAP restaurant meals program is a special state-run program that allows elderly, homeless, and disabled SNAP recipients to purchase food at SNAP authorized restaurants.

They can do so by using the SNAP EBT cards.

Under the restaurant meals program, participating restaurants must offer meals at discounted prices. 

This is a help to SNAP recipients because the money they receive cannot be used to buy hot prepared foods, such as soup and rotisserie chicken, at grocery stores.

What states have the SNAP restaurant meals program?

Six states have opted in to the federal program that allows older adults to use their food benefits on select, low-cost restaurant meals.

The program is widely available in Arizona and California.

Other states such as Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia offer the restaurant meals program in select cities or counties.

Illinois and New York have passed laws allowing the respective state social services agencies to apply to the federal program.

How are states eligible?

To join the SNAP restaurant meals program, states must prove to the US Department of Agriculture that some high-needs residents aren’t well-served by traditional food benefits.

The program then allows members of three target populations: adults over 60, people with disabilities and people who are homeless, plus their spouses, to eat at low-cost, state-certified restaurants.

Chains, such as Subway and McDonald’s, participate in the program in select states.

We explain what day of the month SNAP benefits are paid out each month.

Plus, when you need to re-certify to continue receiving SNAP benefits.

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