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Food stamps: How to use SNAP benefits at restaurants

Food stamps are used by millions of Americans to help provide their families with food, and now some may use their EBT cards at restaurants.

big yellow sign with black letters spelling "we accept food stamps"

SNAP benefits are provided to low income people and families to help have access to healthy food options.

SNAP programs are funded by the government, but run by the state.

This means how the program is run varies from state to state.

Some states have started the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program.

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What is the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program and how do you use your food stamps with it?

This program specifically targets a part of the population that uses food stamps.

The focus is on elderly, disabled, and homeless individuals.

These people may use their EBT cards at restaurants that participate in the program for prepared meals.

The reason this demographic may use the program and not everyone on food stamps is because they may not have the ability or means to prepare themselves meals at home.


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Restaurants that choose to use this program must offer their meals to EBT cardholders at a discounted price.

Only a handful of states use the program, and not all are statewide. Some are only in specific cities or counties.

Check with your local SNAP office to know where this program is offered.

States that allow food stamps to be used in restaurants

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Rhode Island
  • Michigan
  • New York

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An elderly person who can participate in the program must be 60 and older or a household must contain only members who are over 60. Their spouse can count as well.

Disabled individuals must be designated disabled by the government. For a household to use the program everyone must be disabled. Their spouse may use the program as well.

Homeless individuals may use the program if they or their household lacks a regular, fixed resident they stay in at high or if they live somewhere not designed to be slept in.

Halfway houses, shelters, and temporarily staying in someone’s home for less than 90 days will count as homeless.

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