Money Shopping

Does McDonald’s Take EBT?

We're putting together an editorial staff that reflects our broad audience and their various financial circumstances. We value and encourage the experiences and perspectives that help us connect with our readers, answer their questions, and win their trust. Please read our disclosure for more information.
Updated on March 13, 2024 by
Does McDonald’s Take EBT?

CommonCentsMom.com is advertiser-supported: we may earn compensation from the products and offers mentioned in this article. However, any expressed opinions are our own and aren't influenced by compensation. The contents of the CommonCentsMom.com website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial or legal advice. Always seek the advice of your Financial Advisor, CPA and Lawyer with any questions you may have regarding your situation. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website!

People always want to go to McDonald’s every once in a while. However, even the cheapest items on the menu are expensive, especially when the cost is high. Have you thought about using your EBT card to pay for fast food?

Most SNAP beneficiaries are unable to use their EBT cards for buying fast food. However, some SNAP benefits may be allowed to a few people who are disabled or housebound to purchase fast food. Those who are homeless, disabled, or elderly may be eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP).

Even if you qualify for RMP, fast food restaurants don’t accept government assistance for meals. McDonald’s is only available if you have a qualifying EBT card. It’s only available at a select few restaurants in California.

If this is the first time you receive SNAP benefits, you may have a lot of questions about your options. Here are some things you should know. If you live in a state where there is no RMP, you may not even realize that there is such a thing as a Restaurant Meals Program.

Here’s what you need to know about how you can use your SNAP benefits to pay for fast food such as McDonald’s.

People who have an EBT card can’t purchase fast food, even at McDonald’s, but there’s a reason for that.

Does McDonald’s Take EBT?

What are the SNAP and EBT Programs?

The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a federally funded and run program that helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need. It was formerly known as the Food Stamps Program. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees SNAP under the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and the states distribute its benefits.

SNAP benefits are distributed once a month through EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer), an electronic system that distributes funds from SNAP and other programs. The system works with a plastic card that looks like a traditional debit or credit card. Each card has a magnetic strip on the back, allowing program participants to use the cards to buy food.

Who Can Receive SNAP Benefits?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has some rules to determine who is eligible for the program, including:

  • The individual must be a US citizen or a qualified lawful resident
  • They must have the proper identification
  • The person must list who lives and eats in their household

These are the basic requirements for the program; there is more information the individual must provide about their household. If they are approved for the program, the individual will receive an EBT card that allows them to buy food at eligible retailers.

What is the RMP Program?

The RMP (Restaurant Meals Program) falls under the SNAP program. It allows certain SNAP participants who are not able to cook for themselves or who may be homeless to buy prepared meals at restaurants using their SNAP benefits.

RMP is only available in certain states; within these states, restaurants must apply to be part of the program. Once they’ve been authorized by the FNS (Food and Nutrition Service), the restaurant can accept SNAP benefits.

Conditions for Paying with EBT in McDonald’s

SNAP benefits are different in every state, and only a few states have an RMP program. Some SNAP recipients who are homeless or disabled or who are elderly can get fast food with their benefits. Many people are not able to cook food for themselves, or they don’t have a reliable kitchen to cook in.

Before you go to a fast food restaurant, speak with your SNAP representative and ask if you can use your benefits to pay for fast food. You can also contact your local government and request that they start a RMP for the people living in your state.

People who are eligible for the RMP may be able to get a meal at McDonald’s in California. If your nearest McDonald’s does not accept EBT payment, try tasty fast food alternatives like El Pollo Loco or Carl’s Jr. California has the most options for fast food restaurants where you can use your EBT card.

Arizona or Florida allow SNAP-eligible people who live in certain countries to use their benefits to pay for fast food like Subway, or Taco Bell.

Some states are changing their restaurant redemption programs, as a result of new legislation.

RMP-eligible people can check their state’s SNAP card to see if there are any restaurants where they can use their SNAP funds to buy food. Even if you’ve checked your benefits, you may be surprised to learn that you have new dining options!

What is the answer to the question, Does McDonalds accept EBT? It is finally revealed that you can use your SNAP money to buy fast food with the condition of living hardships and selected region only. McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants will not let you pay with EBT for meals if you are getting SNAP benefits. You can use the money that you received from EBT to pay for basic necessities instead.

(Visited 703 times, 1 visits today)

🏔 Read Next 🏔

Best Side Hustles of 2023

The 27 highest paying side hustles you can start today.

View article ➞

The Common Cents Mom Newsletter

Join thousands of curious consumers getting the inside scoop.