Does Taco Bell take EBT Food Stamps?

Dayton, Ohio, USA - December 13, 2015: Taco Bell Restaurant, shown here at night in its newer 2013 purple design, has recently announced its implementation of exclusively using cage-free eggs in its 6000 US locations by the end of 2016.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) supplements the food budget of low-income households via an Electronic Benefits Card (EBT). But can you use your EBT card to purchase food at restaurants, like Taco Bell?

See: SNAP Schedule: Monthly Benefits for California Disburse Starting on March 1
Find: What is SNAP & Is it The Same as Food Stamps?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the handling of SNAP benefits and sets the guidelines for eligibility — and what you can and can’t buy with your EBT card. While the goal of the SNAP program was for eligible households to purchase and prepare food at home, there are exceptions. 

Taco Bell does allow SNAP-eligible individuals to make a purchase with their EBT cards if they are eligible for the Restaurant Meal Program (RMP) and if they reside in a state that has this program, says Money Inc. Restaurants that participate in the RMP are located in Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia.

According to the USDA, eligible individuals are those who are unable to prepare meals for themselves or who do not have permanent housing to prepare or store food. All members of the household must be either:

  • Age 60 or older.
  • Disabled.
  • Homeless.
  • The spouse of a SNAP client who is eligible for the RMP.
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Although you can make purchases at grocery stores across the nation using your SNAP EBT card, the RMP is a little different. You can only make purchases at participating restaurants with the RMP in the state where you applied, says Money Inc.

Learn: Can You Buy Pet Food with Your EBT Card Food Stamps?
Explore: What Are EBT Cash Benefits and How Can You Apply?

Money Inc. noted that some counties in Arizona and California might accept or decline EBT payments. Some other states may also run the RMP program, but on a very limited basis and only at a few participating restaurants. Check with your state to see whether the RMP program is offered, and if Taco Bell is on that list.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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