While cooking is an enjoyable chore under normal circumstances, it may seem like an addition to the life’s struggles of a disadvantaged person. That’s the case for the elderly, disabled, or homeless. Thus, a KFC fast-food restaurant nearby that accepts an EBT card is a win-win. Most of these people either can’t cook or don’t have the means to carry raw food and prepare it at home. Does KFC accept food stamps?
Generally, SNAP rules prohibit using EBT cards to purchase hot, prepared food at the point of sale. That’s what fast-food restaurants like KFC do. They serve ready-to-eat, hot prepared meals to their customers, like the famous KFC chicken sandwich.
That automatically disqualifies all the food sold at KFC for SNAP purchase. Right? Yes, but not absolutely because the elderly, the disabled, and the homeless who can’t cook still need food to survive. Restaurants like KFC qualify under SNAP’s Restaurant Meals Program (RMP).
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is America’s second-largest fast-food restaurant chain after McDonald’s. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, KFC has about 3,981 KFC locations distributed across all 50 states.
Chicken meat and other poultry products are among the SNAP-approved items you can purchase with an EBT card. But there are conditions. Before you get excited, it helps to know whether you can use EBT at KFC to grab chicken legs or breasts.
Short Answers: KFC accepts EBT at locations in the states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), including Arizona, California, and Florida. To use your EBT card at a KFC location, you must live in a state that participates in the RMP program and be approved by your state to redeem SNAP benefits on hot or prepared foods at the point of sale.
That said, only about six states, including California, Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Maryland, have an active RMP program. As such, you won’t be able to use your EBT card at most KFC locations throughout the rest of the country.
Even in states that accept EBT, you’ll probably find KFC locations that don’t take SNAP food stamps. It’s important to call ahead of time to inquire whether a specific KFC takes food stamps.
Read below to understand how the RMP program works.
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Do KFC take EBT?
Yes, KFC accepts EBT in states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program. The RMP program is meant to allow disadvantaged groups like the elderly, people with disabilities, and the homeless to eat. Reasons being, some of them are too old to cook or don’t have the ability or the means to carry and prepare meals from grocery stores that accept EBT.
The federal food stamps law leaves it up to each state to decide whether or not to extend SNAP through the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). Each state is at liberty to choose whether or not to allow EBT cards at fast-food restaurants like KFC.
Although federal law allows it, only a few states have extended SNAP benefits through the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). Unless you live in any of these states, you won’t be able to purchase hot prepared meals at KFC with an EBT card. States that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program include:
- Rhode Island
Also, Florida offers limited versions of the RMP, and KFC is among the few restaurants that accept EBT in Florida, alongside Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Each state sets its own eligibility criteria as to who can or can’t eat out with an EBT card, as well as which restaurants to approve.
How Does the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program Work with Fast Food?
Generally, you must live below the federal poverty line and be either elderly, homeless, or disabled to qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program in most states.
All said, the question of whether KFC accepts EBT boils down to a few conditions. SNAP only allows you to eat at KFC with an EBT card under three conditions:
- You must live in a state that participates in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP)
- You must either be elderly, disabled, or homeless
- You must qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program(RMP) per your state’s requirements.
Thus, your problem isn’t about KFC but your state and SNAP rules concerning the RMP program. As long as your state participates in the RMP program and SNAP allows it, KFC is more likely to process your SNAP benefits and give you a fried chicken sandwich.
Your Takeaway: You may use your EBT card at KFC if you live in any of the six states that extend SNAP via the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), and you qualify for the RMP per your state’s requirements. Not all KFC locations accept EBT, so you are better off calling ahead of time to confirm.
How to Use EBT Card at KFC?
EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. It’s a type of debit card used by the government under the SNAP program to distribute food benefits and other forms of financial aid such as WIC and TANF to low-income families and other disadvantaged groups.
Once you qualify to receive SNAP benefits, an account is opened under your name, where your SNAP funds are loaded every month. To spend your SNAP funds hassle-free, you are issued an EBT card locked with a 4-digit PIN that is only known to you. You won’t be able to use your EBT debit card without a PIN.
Once you find a KFC fast food restaurant that accepts EBT, go ahead and purchase your chicken or any other food of your choice. At the checkout register, swipe your card and select EBT as the payment method. You’ll be prompted to enter your PIN. Simply enter your four-digit PIN to authorize the payment and prove you’re not using a stolen credit card.
What is the RMP Program?
RMP stands for Restaurant Meal Program. The program is only available in certain states and is carried out independently. For example, it is called the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program in California.
The purpose of these restaurant meals programs is to help people who are at a high risk for chronic hunger. The program is specifically targeted to help elderly people (people older than 60), disabled people, and homeless people and their families.
The original purpose of the introduction of this program was to give more freedom to people who were receiving SNAP benefits. SNAP benefits do not let you buy hot or prepared meals, and the restaurant meals program was a way to bypass this rule.
According to the CalFresh RMP, you can receive food benefits if you are an adult over the age of 60, a person with a medically proven disability, or the spouse of an individual that falls into one of these two segments. Homeless people are also included in this benefits program.
How Can a Restaurant Participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?
A number of restaurants are a part of the RMP, but there are some guidelines that they need to follow before they can be eligible for this program. For a restaurant to be a part of RMP, it needs to be located in a state that has this program.
Besides this, the restaurant also needs to get approval from the state. Once this is done, they must submit a signed agreement to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) department. The FNS also has to authorize the restaurant to accept SNAP benefits. This means that restaurants cannot be a part of the RMP program unless they’re also participating in providing SNAP benefits.
Restaurants also need to qualify some basic standards and requirements before they’re allowed to participate in the program. Let’s take Illinois for an example. Restaurants in this state should comply with federal, state, and local laws throughout the duration of the program. They also need to have a public health operating permit and general liability insurance.
Other qualifying factors include the availability of sit-down seating, provision of low cost meals, and not including sales tax, meals tax, or gratuity charges. Although there are no charges associated with participating in the program, the restaurant must pay for the Point Of Sale (POS) device that it will be using.
For multiple restaurants by the same owner or restaurants that are part of the chain, all locations have to be submitted for approval. Adding locations to the program needs added documentation.
Once the restaurant has been approved for the program, there are some changes that need to be made in the equipment that they use. They can either get some new equipment that accepts EBT cards or get in contact with their third-party processor to add the new service to their existing devices.
Other Fast Food Restaurants That Accept EBT
KFC isn’t the only restaurant that accepts EBT. You should know other nearby restaurants that accept food stamps.
Here’s a list of other restaurants that accept EBT in RMP participating states:
- Burger King
- Del Taco
- Dairy Queen
- Domino’s Pizza
- El Pollo Loco
- Firehouse Subs
- Burger Shoppe
- Carl’s Jr.
- Church’s Chicken
- Taco Bell
- Taco Bell
- Golden Corral
- Hungry Howie’s
- Jack in the Box
- Jamba Juice
- Papa John’s Pizza
- Pizza Hut
Restaurants That Don’t accept EBT
It’s equally important to know what restaurants don’t accept EBT, including:
- A&W Restaurants
- Chipotle Mexican Grill
- Panda Express
- Qdoba Mexican Grill
- Sonic Drive-In
- Panera Bread
- White Castle
- Shake Shack
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Tim Hortons
- Einstein Bros. Bagels
- Five Guys Burger
- In-N-Out Burger
- Jimmy John’s
- Long John Silvers
Does KFC Accept EBT Summary
KFC accepts EBT at select locations in some states that participate in the RMP program. SNAP leaves it upon individual states to decide whether to extend SNAP through the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). You can only use your EBT card at KFC if you live in a state that participates in the RMP program and qualify for the program under your state’s requirements.
Since not all KFC locations accept EBT, we encourage you to call ahead to ask whether the specific location you intend to visit accepts EBT. It’s also important that you make it your habit to carry alternative payment methods like a debit/credit card with a chip or cash when visiting KFC or any other fast-food restaurants mentioned above that accept EBT.
Want to order fast-food delivery from home? See our guide on fast-food places that accept EBT for delivery.