The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition assistance program that gives eligible low-income households extra food-purchasing assistance to supplement food budgets.
The US Department of Agriculture and administered at the state level, SNAP benefits can be used to purchase items that are only included in SNAP guidelines. Moreover, according to the USDA, the EBT cards, which are linked to SNAP accounts, can only be used to purchase these foods:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat and fish
- Dairy products
- Bread and cereals
- Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants produce food for the household.
The EBT cards are not allowed to purchase food that is hot when sold or food that is sold to be eaten in the store. This also includes rotisserie chicken and ready-to-eat deli foods. However, if your state offers Restaurant Meals Program, which allows you to purchase hot meals at a restaurant using your SNAP benefits then you are qualified to order them.
Restaurant Meals Program
The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows some SNAP recipients who are unable to cook meals for themselves and preferred to purchase ready-to-eat meals at restaurants with their SNAP benefits.
However, you should be a resident of California, Arizona, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia to avail the RMP benefits. But there are some qualifications listed below by each member of the household must meet:
- 60 years of age or older
- The spouse of a SNAP recipient must qualify for RMP
Lastly, If you qualify to use SNAP benefits at restaurants and plan to use them, it’s preferable to call ahead to check if they accept EBT cards as payment for food.