Lindsey, do you know if McDonald’s accepts EBT in California? This is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
In general, McDonald’s does not accept EBT or food stamp payments. This applies to all states, including California. In specific circumstances with RMP benefits, you may be able to use EBT at a McDonald’s in California and a few other particular states.
EBT is a way to use SNAP benefits, like food stamps, from the government. EBT has many restrictions to ensure that it is used for its intended purpose.
Let’s dive into how EBT can be used in California and the specific cases in which it can be used at McDonald’s restaurants.
Table of Contents
Does McDonald’s Accept EBT in California?
In most circumstances, McDonald’s is not allowed to accept EBT. EBT has strict limits on when, where, and how it can be used. Most of those rules stipulate that EBT must be used on groceries, so most grocery stores accept it.
However, the rules around prohibit its use at restaurants. There is, however, one exception to this rule and it applies in the state of California.
The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) is part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is where the EBT cards come from.
The RMP serves elderly people, disabled people, and the homeless in certain states that allow it.
The RMP is designed to ensure that people with very limited ability to cook can still have access to food. Restaurants involved in the program must offer concessional prices for meals, which McDonald’s does.
Not everyone qualifies for the RMP, as it is based on an individual’s ability (or inability) to prepare nutritious food for themselves.
McDonald’s in California is approved for the RMP, so only if you qualify for the RMP, you can use EBT at McDonald’s restaurants in California. You will have to contact your SNAP provider to know if you qualify for RMP, as the qualifications can at times be very specific and tailored around the individual.
Which States Use the Restaurant Meal Program with SNAP?
Six States in the USA use the Restaurant Meal Program as part of SNAP benefits.
Those states are:
This state list means that McDonald’s locations in all of these states should accept EBT for people who qualify for the Restaurant Meal Program.
The benefits are not limited to people residing within the state of California.
What is SNAP?
SNAP is the shorthand name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It is often also referred to as a “food stamp program.” It is a method of providing nutritious food to families in need to ensure that they can purchase healthy foods.
People must qualify for SNAP, as it is only available to individuals or families with low-income. The program also emphasizes supporting American agriculture.
It is a federal program, but states can create their regulations or additions to the plan. That is why California has included the Restaurant Meal Program as a way to supplement SNAP benefits for needy individuals.
SNAP lets people purchase specific items with government benefits. The items are almost exclusively food, including many items like fresh fruits and vegetables or canned options that individuals can cook themselves. Items must meet certain requirements to qualify for SNAP.
What is EBT?
EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. This payment method allows someone who receives SNAP benefits to pay for particular foods.
EBT is usually in the form of a card, similar to a credit card that individuals can then use at retailers approved with SNAP.
What Cannot Be Purchased with SNAP?
SNAP is exclusively intended for providing nutrition, so it is relevant only to food items. That means you cannot use SNAP to purchase other grocery items, like toiletries, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, and more.
SNAP also does not apply to hot food items, like those provided by restaurants (a notable exception is the Restaurant Meal Plan that we discussed earlier).
How Can I Know if a Retailer Accepts EBT?
There are several ways you can find out if a particular retailer accepts EBT. Many retailers post at the front of their stores whether they accept EBT or not.
Others post on their websites which payment methods are allowed.
If you want to check if a retailer accepts EBT before you go, you can check on the USDA’s website, which has a program to find SNAP retailers near you.
Does McDonald’s Accept WIC payments?
McDonald’s does not accept WIC payments, as it is not included in the WIC program.
WIC (women, infants, and children) was designed to provide nutritious foods to help protect the health of pregnant women, infants, and children.
WIC is a supplement to ensure that women have access to nutritious foods. Only particular food items are accepted in the WIC program, including formula and baby food.
Restaurants are not included in the WIC program, so McDonald’s will not take WIC as a method of payment, regardless of the state you reside in.
You cannot use EBT at McDonald’s in California unless you qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program.
The Restaurant Meals Program is reserved for people who cannot cook most of the food available through SNAP themselves.
This includes the homeless population and disabled individuals.
SNAP does not qualify for hot foods or restaurant meals. The Restaurant Meals Program supplements SNAP, but it is only available in six of the United States, which does include California.
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