If you rely on EBT benefits, you may be wondering if a well-known fast-food chain, such as McDonald's, accepts EBT. McDonald's has remained one of the most popular fast-food restaurants across the Country since its inception. Many EBT recipients are curious whether they can use their EBT funds to purchase food at McDonald's. So Does McDonalds Take EBT?
Currently, McDonald’s only accepts EBT in the states of Arizona and California as they are part of the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) in the United States. The states that operate under the RMPs can authorize to extend the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the RMPs.
The EBT program currently serves approximately 50 million people in the United States. People who qualify for EBT cards can receive benefits in both the Food and Cash categories. Read the entire article to learn more about using your EBT funds at a McDonald's location.
How Does EBT Work?
EBT is an abbreviation for Electronic Benefit Transfer. It is usually given to people who are below the poverty line. The federal government is in charge of releasing the EBT budget. Every year, the State agency provides EBT funding to the program's eligible participants. In the United States, Electronic Benefit Transfer is a convenient way to run social welfare programs.
The Department of Agriculture is responsible for authorizing Food Benefits to EBT cardholders. These benefits are made under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In addition to this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees the allocation of Temporary Assistance for Needy People (TANF) funds to the program’s participants.
How Does the SNAP Program Operate?
SNAP operates under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The people who are eligible for the SNAP program receive a monthly benefit in the form of digital currency. People who are eligible receive benefits every month. However, SNAP funds can only be used to buy cold foods and non-alcoholic beverages.
The modern-day SNAP program originated from the Food Stamp Program in 1939. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the FSP program in 1939. Before the late 1990s, SNAP benefits were distributed in the form of coupons. Since 2004, EBT cards have become available in all of the US. Consequently, the program has been modernized to meet the needs of today.
Moreover, there are many stores in the United States that often offer lucrative cashback offers on EBT card purchases. In particular, you can use SNAP Retailer Locator to find stores that accept EBT cards for pickup or home delivery.
What Are The Eligibility Criterias For The SNAP And TANF Funds?
The eligibility requirements for the SNAP and TANF benefits may vary from each other. Both these programs are regulated by the federal government but under different executive branches. For instance, USDA is responsible for handling the SNAP benefits whereas the TANF program is handled by the HHS department.
In general, state agencies determine who is eligible for SNAP and TANF funds. Families with a gross monthly income at or below the poverty level, for example, are eligible for SNAP benefits. TANF benefits are mostly available to pregnant women with no income or women with a dependent child under the age of 19.
In the United States, SNAP funds are directed to low-income families and individuals. The goal of this program is to provide nutritious food to impoverished families. TANF, on the other hand, is a time-limited welfare program that seeks to supplement children who are unable to meet their basic needs.
What McDonald’s Stores Accept EBT Cards?
Arizona and California are the only states in the United States where some exclusive McDonald's locations accept EBT cards. Because of federal laws, states that participate in the Restaurant Meal Program can extend SNAP benefits to a small number of fast-food restaurants. However, which fast-food restaurants are authorized is at the discretion of the SNAP agencies.
As a result, even if you live in Arizona or California, you must look for McDonald's locations near you that accept EBT as a payment method. In addition, to use your EBT card, you must meet all of your state's eligibility requirements.
McDonald’s That Accept EBT in Arizona
Arizona is one of two states in the United States that are covered by the RMP program. In fact, EBT cards are accepted at over 80 McDonald's locations in Arizona. The following is a list of Arizona McDonald's locations that accept EBT.
- Bullhead City
- Cave Creek
- El Mirage
- Fort Mohave
- Show Low
- Window Rock
- Lake Havasu
- Tuba City
Furthermore, you can find the addresses and contact information for all RMP-approved restaurants in Arizona that accept EBT payments right here.
McDonald’s That Accept EBT In California
California also has a large number of RMP-approved McDonald's locations that accept EBT as payment. Here is a list of California locations that accept EBT.
- Santa Cruz
- San Luis Obispo
- Santa Cruz
- San Diego
- Santa Clara
- Los Angeles
You can use the Cardholder Portal to look up specific locations that accept EBT payments. For example, simply select the county and enter "McDonald's" as the keyword in the "retailer/bank" section.
What Food Can You Buy At McDonald’s Using An EBT Card?
A McDonald's location sells cold foods and non-alcoholic beverages. However, you must have enough money on your EBT card to make a purchase. Aside from that, if you meet the RMP program's eligibility requirements, you may also purchase hot and prepared food. Check your state's eligibility requirements to see if you qualify.
Here is a list of items that you can buy with your EBT card if you are a SNAP beneficiary in your state.
- Cold Sandwich
- Ice Cream and Cookies
- Soft Drinks
- Energy Drinks
- Protein Shakes
- Filtered Water
Aside from the items listed above, there may be some other food items that qualify as essential goods. If the item in question is listed as an essential good, any EBT cardholder may be eligible to use their cards.
What Foods Can You Not Buy At McDonald’s Using EBT?
You cannot use your EBT card to purchase hot or prepared foods with SNAP funds. SNAP is a federal government-run social welfare program. Keeping this in mind, you can only use your SNAP balance to purchase necessities. In fact, most fast-food chains' hot and prepared foods are classified as non-essential luxury items.
The following is a list of products that you can purchase at McDonald's with your EBT card.
- Any Alcoholic Beverage
- Pet food
- Tobacco products
- Vitamins and Medicine
- Cleaning Products
- Household Products
- Vacation and Travel Service
- Bail Payments
The laws governing SNAP funds, for the most part, strictly prohibit recipients from spending their funds on non-essential or luxury items. In general, these laws are enacted to limit the program's participants' non-essential spending habits.
Is There Any Way I Can Get Food At McDonald’s Using EBT?
Only if you are a qualified participant in your state's Restaurant Meal Program (RMP). The eligibility criteria for RMP may differ from one state to the next. Disabled and homeless people, for example, get coverage by a state's RMP program. In addition, in many states, people over the age of 60 are eligible for the RMP.
The purpose of the Restaurant Meal Program is to meet the needs of the vulnerable and underprivileged. In fact, this is why people who meet the RMP program criteria can get more benefits from their EBT cards than those who only meet SNAP eligibility requirements.
What Other Payment Methods Does McDonald’s Accept?
The vast majority of states in the country do not accept EBT cards as payment. As a result, you may have difficulty finding a McDonald's outlet in a nearby location, even if you live in Arizona or California. Here is a list of additional payment options available at all McDonald's locations in the United States.
- American Express
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
As we can see from the list, all of the popular payment methods are accepted at all McDonald's locations. PayPal is the only method missing from that list. However, if your PayPal account is linked to Google/Apple Pay, you can easily make your payment at any McDonald's location of your choice.
Is It Possible To Use EBT On A Fast Food Delivery App?
No, it does not. You cannot use your EBT card on any fast-food delivery apps. Most fast-food delivery apps provide their customers with hot and ready-to-eat meals. As a result, apps are unable to comply with the rules and regulations governing SNAP benefits.
Fast-food delivery services accept all popular medium of payments on their apps. Payment methods accepted by popular food delivery apps such as DoorDash, Just Eats, Uber Eats, and McDelivery include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
To order any McDonald's item through the Fast Food Delivery app, you must first download the app from the app store. After installing the app, you must follow the prompts on your screen as they appear. Within the app, you can view the entire menu and add items to your cart. When you place an order, the app will direct you to all of the available payment methods.
Why Don’t All the McDonald’s Locations In Arizona and California Accept EBT?
Because of restrictions imposed by the respective states on the SNAP agencies. For example, fast food restaurants such as McDonald's do not meet the criteria for being classified as healthy foods. As a result, under the RMP programs, states can only extend SNAP benefits to restaurants that serve healthy foods.
SNAP agencies in Arizona and California can only authorize the extension of SNAP benefits to a small number of McDonald's locations. As a result, if you want to use your EBT card to eat at a McDonald's, you must do so in Arizona or California. The particular outlet in question must also be authorized by the State SNAP agency in order for you to use your EBT card.
Can I Use My TANF Fund On My EBT Card to Pay at a McDonald’s Outlet?
Yes, you most certainly can. Unlike SNAP benefits, the TANF fund received on your EFT card can be cashed out. The Department of Human and Health Services administers TANF as a separate welfare program. It is a critical social program in the fight against poverty in the United States.
The TANF program deposits cash directly into EBT users' accounts. In general, the eligibility criteria for TANF benefits differ significantly from those for SNAP benefits. Nonetheless, the TANF program's requirements can vary greatly from state to state.
If you are a TANF benefit recipient, you can use your EBT card to withdraw money from a nearby ATM booth. As a result, you are free to use the cash to pay for the meal you ordered at any McDonald's location of your choice.
It would be more convenient for most EBT users if all McDonald's locations in the United States accepted EBT. However, finding a McDonald's location nearby that accepts EBT as a payment method can be difficult. As a result, it is critical to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements before attempting to make a purchase with your EBT card.
Thank you for sticking all the way to the end of this article. Hopefully, all of this information has provided you with a thorough understanding of all of your concerns about the EBT and McDonald's.