Wednesday, August 07, 2013

SNAP & EBT: Farmers' Markets or Fast Food?

1. The USDA has announced new funding to bring EBT card readers to direct sale farms and farmers markets, both rural and urban, to increase access to fresh foods direct from the farmer to the consumer:

2. California is one of the states which has exercised an option to allow specific categories of SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase hot food at restaurants. The categories usually include those who are homeless, over the age of 60, disabled, or if they do not have adequate cooking facilities at home.
Some restaurants are also accepting EBT cash benefits, such as TANF, and that would not require anyone to be in a category per the above, however they would be limited to the amount of cash benefits and the SNAP funds could be used in this case.

The restaurants are required to sell a complete meal to the participant, and at the best discounted rate available to any member of the general public, and usually the SNAP acceptable meals are limited to the "value meals" due to this regulation, as that is considered a discounted complete meal.
The specific meals which can be sold are defined on page 8 of this MOU:

The SNAP purchases are also exempt from sales tax, so the recipient must only pay the actual cost.

Another resource site on this program:

Notably, this is a state option. Each state can choose to participate in Restaurant Meals or not.

This article discusses: