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Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, is a system put in place to allow a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant money for food using their SNAP benefits. When someone enrolled in SNAP makes a purchase at an authorized SNAP store, their (SNAP) EBT account is debited to reimburse said store for the items or food that are purchased.
This system is in use in all 50 states, and has served as an assistance for low income families in need for many years.
EBT is not just accepted in stores however, many restaurants and fast food places now accept this payment method. Usually, this feature is reserved for certain EBT holders, as not all EBT participants can use their card at restaurants.
Even though many fast food businesses stand to gain more profit from EBT eligibility, there are several requirements to become food stamp certified. For instance, to be eligible to accept payment via food stamps, your store must get at least fifty percent of its sales from food stamp eligible foods or offer at least three different types of food in each of the four main food staple groups (grains and bread, fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat, poultry, and fish daily.)
Furthermore, at least two of the above categories must contain perishable foods.
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Which Fast Food Restaurants Accept EBT?
Even though Chick-Fil-A does not accept EBT at the present, there are still plenty of other fast food options for EBT users. Usually these restaurants are larger chains with stores all across the country.
As EBT use continues to grow across the U.S., many restaurants like Starbucks and Papa Murphy’s have stores in all fifty states that allow their customers to use EBT benefits for food items.
Other than Papa Murphy’s and Starbucks (locations in grocery stores), there are other fast food places that also accept EBT, but they are limited to a certain area of the country. For instance, Alaska and Alamaba offer EBT credits to farmer’s markets and produce farms, but not any fast food spots.
Places like Arizona and California on the other hand allow EBT use for a variety of places like Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and many more!
Since the list varies between states and so many fast food chains differ on which state they are allowed to take EBT and which states they are not, it is best to refer to websites online for the most up to date information.
Places like Low Income Relief can help users identify which state they are in and what places in that area accept EBT. It is also a good idea to check your local state’s EBT website for more information on what you can and can’t use your EBT card for in that state.
What Are The Downsides Of Restaurants Accepting EBT?
There are many different sides to the world of EBT and SNAP benefits, and also many different opinions. On one side of the coin, many people believe that fast food restaurants accepting EBT is a good idea since it gives low income families options for eating outside of the house.
This option gives people the benefit of less mess at home, easier pickup, and virtually no prep. Sometimes fast food meals can even be a cheaper option than preparing certain foods at your own home.
On the other hand, some people side with the belief that enabling EBT at fast food restaurants causes even more low health issues in those who are already struggling. By adding the option for processed and fried foods over fresh produce and meats, it is easy to see how adverse effects could occur.
There are several downsides and upsides of fast food restaurants accepting EBT, but there are worries about the adverse health effects caused by consuming fatty, processed foods on a daily or weekly basis.
At the end of the day, regardless of EBT acceptance or not, it comes down to the individual and how they want to make decisions in their life. Some people may decide that this is the most convenient route for them at the stage they are at, while others may choose to go the more health conscious route.
The fact that some places do offer EBT options, shows that the widespread use of EBT and SNAP programs are affecting how the United States is approaching government based assistance in a broader way.
What Other Places Accept EBT?
You may be wondering what other places besides fast food restaurants and grocery stores accept EBT? Well there are several options depending on your state of residency.
There are also several great tools to help easily find SNAP retailers near you.
A variety of other places like farmer’s markets, produce stores, and even some U-PICK farms allow EBT.
For best results, start with the SNAP Retailer Located found here, SNAP Retailer Locater. You can also refer to your state’s government EBT website for more information.
Here is an example for the state of Colorado, Colorado EBT.
If you are still struggling to find the information you need about a particular retailer, don’t hesitate to check their website or call their store for EBT and SNAP benefit information.
In conclusion, Chick-Fil-A has not jumped on the bandwagon yet for EBT, and there are probably several reasons. As we have learned, many states only allow certain places and people EBT eligibility, and also, each individual place must meet stringent requirements in order to accept EBT.
Chick-Fil-A may not be capable of meeting requirements, or may not be located in enough areas that accept EBT payment yet. Regardless, there are many different options for EBT use wherever you live, so make sure to become knowledgeable on the tools and rules you need to know for each area.
Also, don’t forget that Chick-Fil-A offers several other options for savings like free breakfast weeks, rewards, and coupons if you know where to look!