Going hungry in the most prosperous nation in the world is unacceptable. That’s why the government, through the United States Department of Agriculture, administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the state level.
The sole aim of SNAP is to prevent hunger by supplementing the food budgets of low-income families and other disadvantaged groups. It allows them to afford the nutritional foods needed to stay healthy and get ahead in life.
State SNAP agencies use EBT cards to distribute SNAP funds and other forms of government aid to the needy. It ensures that recipients don’t use their EBT cards to splurge on non-essential food items.
The SNAP program has set rules on what you can or can’t purchase with food stamps. For instance, you can’t use your EBT card to purchase hot or prepared food at the point of sale or splurge on alcoholic drinks, wine, and tobacco products.
That’s what fast-food restaurants like Subway sell-hot and prepared food. But Subway also carries cold items like sandwiches, bread, salads, and soft drink beverages that customers can prepare and eat as part of a balanced meal. The fast-food place aligns with the general SNAP rule that allows staple food items to carry and prepare at home.
The article walks you through the ins and outs of using your EBT card at Subway.
Subway is an American fast-food restaurant famous for selling fresh submarine sandwiches, salads, and non-alcoholic beverages. In total, Subway has about 24,600 sub-sandwich shops in the United States. Use the Subway locator to one of their 24-hour restaurant locations for late-night hunger.
What a perfect place to eat! You’re pretty sure to find a suitable Subway location nearby where you can relax after a long day or work and enjoy a fresh sandwich or salad to rejuvenate and get the energy you need to pursue your financial or life goals. After all, you can’t save $10,000 or build a six-figure nest egg on an empty stomach!
For millions of Americans, relying on EBT approved restaurants is necessary so people can eat, and for disabled, homeless, and elderly. In addition, it’s designed for those who can’t cook or don’t have the means to carry and prepare meals at home. So finding a local Subway that accepts food stamps can be a game-changer.
Does Subway take EBT?
Short Answer: Subway accepts EBT in some states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) and allows SNAP recipients to spend food stamps on restaurant meals. So far, only six states have elaborate RMPs, including Arizona, California, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland. Largely, Subway accepts EBT at select locations in California, Arizona, and Rhode Island.
Using food stamps at Subway comes down to the state you live in and whether you and your state participate in the Restaurant Meals Program. Thus, the problem is less about Subway but on whether your state extends SNAP through the RMP to allow the elderly, the homeless, and people with disabilities to purchase hot or prepared food at the point of sale.
If you live in a state that doesn’t participate in the RMP, some Subway locations may accept EBT for cold food items. However, it’s usually the manager’s decision vs. one of the restaurants that hire 14,15, and 16-year-olds. It’s rare to find a Subway that takes EBT outside states without the Restaurant Meals Program.
That said, Subway only accepts EBT cards for in-store purchases. Subway online and the Subway app don’t accept EBT payments. So if you want to order a sandwich or salad online or through the app, you’ll have to pay with another payment method like a debit/credit card with a chip. Alternatively, you can order from other fast-food restaurants that accept EBT for delivery.
Recommended read: Meal Delivery Kits that take EBT
What Food Can You Buy at Subway with Food Stamps?
The food you can buy at Subway with food stamps comes down to whether or not you and your state participate in the Restaurant Meals Program. Let’s decipher what food you can or can’t buy at Subway with food stamps by speaking about the Restaurant Meals Program.
Per general SNAP rules, you can only use an EBT card to buy staple food items to carry and prepare at home. You’re not allowed to buy hot or prepared meals like fast food and deli food at the point of sale.
It begs the question: What about the elderly, the homeless, and people with disabilities that can’t cook or lack the means to carry and prepare food at home? Aren’t they at a disadvantage? Yes, but the restaurant meals program comes to their aid.
To help disadvantaged groups eat, the USDA created the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). But the federal laws leave it upon each state to decide whether or not to extend SNAP benefits through the Restaurant Meals Program.
Many states don’t participate in the RMP. Even in the few states that allow SNAP recipients to eat out at restaurants, the program isn’t for every EBT cardholder. You have to qualify per your state’s requirements to be eligible for the program. It’s mostly people with disabilities, the homeless, and the disabled who can’t cook qualify for the RMP.
Thus, you can only use your EBT card to purchase hot or prepared food items at Subway if you live in a state with the Restaurant Meals Program and qualify. Unfortunately, you may struggle to find a nearby Subway that accepts EBT in the states without the restaurant meals program. If you’re lucky to find a Subway that takes EBT nearby, you’ll only be able to purchase cold food items that you can carry and prepare at home.
Here’s a list of SNAP-eligible cold items that you can buy at Subway with food stamps:
- Bread and cereals
- Red meat like steak, ribs, ground beef
- Dessert items like ice cream, cookies, brownies
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese
- Fruits and vegetables
- Cold sandwiches and salads
- Soft & Energy drinks and beverages like sprite, red bull, Pepsi
- Pork products like sausages, chops, bacon, and tenderloin
- Chicken meat and other poultry products
- Snack crackers and chips.
What Food Can’t You Buy at Subway with Food Stamps?
SNAP doesn’t give you money to splurge on non-essential luxuries. Whether or not you and your state participate in the restaurant meals program, there are certain items that you can’t buy at Subway with food stamps.
SNAP will not let you buy the following items at Subway you’re your benefits:
- Alcoholic drinks like wine, beer, liquor
- Tobacco products like cigarettes
Also, SNAP doesn’t allow you to buy vitamins and medicine, feminine products, household products, cleaning supplies, and pet food when shopping at places like Sam’s Club or Costco with your EBT benefits.
You also won’t get cash back on your EBT card unless you receive other forms of government aid like TANF. But you can get cash back with a debit card Walgreens and CVS with a purchase.
Recommended read: Pizza Places That Accept EBT.
Can Subway Accept EBT Online?
No, Subway doesn’t accept EBT online. Also, the Subway app doesn’t accept EBT payments. It only takes EBT payments for in-store purchases. That means you won’t be able to order a sandwich or salad online or via the company’s app with your EBT card.
You can use an alternative payment method like an unexpired debit or credit card to save your funds for other eligible items. For instance, you can use your EBT card to buy protein powder or bagged ice at SNAP-approved retailers. But, Subway doesn’t accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Venmo.
Using your EBT card for in-store purchases at Subway is easy. It works like a regular credit card. The only difference is that you can use your debit card without a PIN, but not your EBT.
Once you qualify to receive SNAP benefits, your state’s SNAP agency creates an account under your name where your funds are loaded every month. To make it easier for you to access and spend your food stamp money, you’re issued an EBT card locked with a personalized 4-digit PIN.
Let the cashier know you’re paying with SNAP funds. Then, swipe the card and enter your 4-digit PIN to authorize the transaction.
It’s always a good practice to check your balance to ensure that you have enough SNAP funds for your shopping. The easiest way to do that is to visit Quest ATMs nearby that dispense $10 or call your SNAP agency.
Again, regularly carry an alternative method so that you won’t be embarrassed at the cash register if your SNAP funds are running unexpectedly low.
Recommended read: Seafood places that accept EBT.
What Subway Stores That Accept EBT Near Me?
Nearby Subway stores that accept EBT depend on whether you live in a state with or without the restaurant meals program. You may be lucky to find close Subway stores that takest SNAP funds for cold food items if your state doesn’t participate in the RMP. Though mostly, fast food restaurants that accept EBT are concentrated on states with the Restaurant Meals Program.
You’ll find Subway restaurants that take EBT if you live in Arizona, California, and Rhode Island. Keep in mind that you have to qualify for the RMP to purchase hot or prepared food at a Subway location.
Subway Stores that Take EBT near me in Arizona
Arizona has an elaborate RMP, and Subway is one of the fast-food restaurants approved to accept EBT at most locations throughout the state. In total, there are over 200 Subway stores that take EBT in Arizona.
Here’s a list of 10 Subway stores that accept EBT near me in Arizona:
- Apache Junction
- Fountain Hills
- Gila Bend
- Rio Roco
- Tuba City
- St. Johns
- Bullhead City
See all Arizona’s participating restaurants and retailers, including their locations, addresses, and contact information.
Subway Stores That Accept EBT near me in California
California has over 2,100 Subways and about 9% of all locations in the United States. It’s one of the states with an elaborate Restaurant Meals Program and many approved Subway stores.
Here’s a list of counties in California that participate in the CalFresh RMP:
- Los Angeles
- Santa Cruz
- San Luis Obispo
- San Francisco
- San Diego
To find specific Subway locations that accept EBT in the counties, visit the California EBT cardholder Portal. Then, select your county and plug the keyword “Subway” into the “retailer/bank name” field.
Subway Stores That Accept EBT near Me in Rhode Island
Rhode Island hasn’t been left behind among the counties that lead the pack with an elaborate RPM that allows disadvantaged groups to eat.
Here’s a list of 10 Subways that accept EBT near me in Rhode Island:
- Pawtucket: 614 Pawtucket Avenue
- Westerly: 258 Post Road (inside Walmart)
- Woonsocket: 483 Clinton Street
- Providence: 583 Elmwood Avenue; 2 Kennedy Plaza;719 Westminster Street; 255 Weybosset Street
- Central Falls: 310 Broad Street
- Cranston: 962 Cranston Street
- Newport: 104 Broadway Unit 1A
What Should I Know Before Applying For SNAP Benefits?
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding who receives SNAP benefits and EBT cards. If you live in the US, you can apply for SNAP benefits regardless of your marital or family status.
Single adults, parents, senior citizens, and working people can all be eligible for SNAP benefits.
SNAP eligibility is based on your household income and your monthly expenses. You will not be asked for proof of the amount of money that you have in your bank account for this process.
Your wait time might be up to 30 days before your benefits kick in. If you need them urgently, you can apply for expedited SNAP benefits.
Gross Monthly Income
Gross monthly income is defined as the total income of the household before the program’s deductions are applied. To be eligible for these benefits, the gross monthly income should be below 130 percent of the poverty line.
For example, the poverty line for a family of three is calculated at $1,830 a month in the year 2022. 130% of this number gives you $2,379 a month. For a whole year, this is calculated at $28,550. A family of three will be eligible for SNAP benefits if their gross monthly income is at or below this level.
Keep in mind that this number is only valid for a family of three members. The number will be higher for families with more members and lower for families with fewer members.
Based on the calculations mentioned above, the net income of the household should be at or below the poverty line after the deductions are applied. Income is considered as the total of all earned and unearned income. This includes the funds that you acquire from cash assistance, unemployment insurance, child support, and social security, to name a few sources.
The assets that your family owns should also fall under a certain level to ensure your eligibility for the program. For homes that do not have an elderly or a disabled person as a part of their family, the assets should be less than $2,500. An elderly person is defined as someone 60 years old or older. If the family does have an elderly or disabled person, the total assets should be equal to or less than $3,750.
Everything in your bank account that can be used for purchasing food or daily necessities counts as an asset. Other things that cannot be used, like your car or your retirement savings, do not qualify as assets. A number of states have made their rules about asset limits more lenient to help families in need.
Emergency SNAP Benefits
If you’re in an emergency and you urgently need SNAP benefits, you can complete an expedited procedure to obtain these benefits within 7 days.
To qualify for them, you have to meet one of the the following three criteria:
- Income + Bank Balance is less than monthly housing expenses
- Monthly income less than $150, bank balance less than $100
- For migrant workers, bank balance less than $100
If you can provide proof that you satisfy one of the above criteria, you can get emergency benefits within 7 days. You can also talk to a DTA supervisor if you do not get these benefits despite being qualified for them.
You don’t need to be employed to be considered for SNAP benefits. However, in some states, you might have to start looking for a job or enroll in a job search program within a few months after you receive your benefits.
Even if you’re not a US citizen, you can still be eligible for SNAP benefits. If you have applied for citizenship or a green card, receiving these benefits will not affect your application in any way.
In cases where parents without documentation have a child that is born in the US, the child might receive benefits of the SNAP program.
If you don’t own a home or are homeless, you can still apply for SNAP benefits. You don’t need a permanent address to apply for an EBT card. In fact, if you are homeless, you can claim a deduction from income when you apply for your SNAP benefits
Who Is Not Eligible for Snap Benefits?
Even if you meet all the qualifications needed to be eligible for SNAP benefits, you might not be able to get an EBT card or might have limited access to benefits if you fall within certain categories. For example, people who are on an ongoing strike are not eligible for SNAP benefits.
You also need to have a documented and valid immigration status to qualify for these benefits. If you are a student who is attending college full-time, that also makes you ineligible for SNAP.
For people who are unemployed and childless, SNAP benefits are limited to only three months every three years. Once these benefits are used up, you might not be able to apply for them for at least three more years.
Subway Take EBT SNAP Food Stamps Summary
With over 24,000 locations throughout the United States, Subway is a great place to enjoy a fresh sandwich or salad with a wide range of toppings. Luckily, Subway is among SNAP-approved fast-food restaurants that take EBT food stamps in states participating in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). Thus, you can spend your SNAP funds at Subway as long as you and your state participate in the RMP.
Subway doesn’t take EBT online, nor does the mobile app accept payments. In addition, approved Subway restaurants only accept EBT for in-store purchases. However, there are some Subway stores that you can walk into and use your EBT card.
Mostly, you’ll find local Subways stores that accept EBT in California, Rhode Island, and Arizona. So if you live there and qualify for the RMP, use our list above to find a favorite location. Then, go ahead and enjoy your sandwich, salad, beverages, and any other EBT-eligible items sold there.