Help buying groceries when times are tight has been around since 1934, but government rules about using its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — formerly known as food stamps — has sometimes seemed stuck in that moment nearly 90 years ago, when cooking was the norm and fast food was rare. It's been biased for decades toward recipe ingredients and away from prepared foods, to the point of allowing spending on raw chicken but not rotisserie chickens.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture began catching on to a changing culture late in the 1970s, when its Restaurant Meals Program launched, a gift for people “who might not be able to prepare meals for themselves or who do not have permanent housing for storing and preparing food.” That still didn't capture how common fast food was (and, often, how delicious), but more and more states have adopted the program since 1977, and more fast-food restaurants.
Be warned when you go to pay for your favorite fast-food grub that SNAP benefits and laws vary by state and locality. Check your state’s SNAP program rules to learn whether fast food is covered by EBT/SNAP in your state.
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Fast food joints that accept SNAP in 2022 include:
Note: this list is not exhaustive and terms and conditions may vary in stores.
- Burger King
- Carl's Jr
- Dairy Queen
- Domino's Pizza
- El Pollo Loco
- Jack in the Box
- Jamba Juice
- Papa Murphy's
- Pizza Hut
- Taco Bell