Whether you’ve just received your EBT card after confirming to the feds that you’re economically challenged or have been using one, you likely wonder, does Taco Bell take EBT payments? Like most EBT beneficiaries, you’re entitled to getting nutritious meals featuring under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on a budget. As the cost of living keeps skyrocketing, knowing your options once you have an EBT card is crucial. Here is everything you need to know about EBT payments at Taco Bell.
An overview of Taco Bell
Taco Bell is a US-based retail chain of fast-food restaurants whose original headquarters are in Irvine, California. It was founded by Glen Bell in 1962 and is a sister company to Yum! Brands, Inc. This chain of restaurants offers Mexican-inspired dishes like burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and many others.
What is EBT?
According to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards share physical characteristics with debit cards like the magnetic stripe and PIN. When paying for your food at the cashier, the computer will sense the magnetic stripe to determine how much you need to pay. The cashier will request you enter your PIN to complete your payment. You will walk away with your groceries or food if all goes well. But if there’s something wrong with your EB card, the machine will detect and decline your transaction until you rectify it with the relevant authorities. The federal government of the US introduced SNAP in 2014 as an initiative to help low-income earners access groceries and other nutritious foods. The EBT card replaces food stamps that were previously cumbersome to carry and use.
According to Food Stamps Now, the US Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the federal government agency, is in charge of the food stamps initiative. They set the guidelines for what you can and can’t buy with an EBT card. The program’s goal is to make sure you buy food you intend to prepare and consume at home. So, that means fresh or hot foods prepared at restaurants are out of the equation. Still, there are some exceptions for which this rule may be excused. For example, if you aren’t eligible for the Restaurant Meal Program (RMP), Taco Bell allows you to use your EBT card to purchase the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Milk and dairy products like cheese, ghee, and yogurt
- Fish and poultry
- Bread and breakfast cereals
- Seeds and plants which you can prepare as household meals
You can’t use your EBT card to purchase:
- Pet foods
- Hot and freshly prepared meals
- Alcoholic drinks and cigarettes
- Personal effects
- Ready-to-eat foods from the store
Using your EBT card at Taco Bell is admissible despite the SNAP program strictly approving the purchase of foods to be prepared at home. Taco Bell offers ready-to-eat meals because it’s a restaurant, a fact that might confuse you more if you’re an EBT beneficiary.
Does Taco Bell accept EBT payments?
Taco Bell allows you to make your payments via an EBT card, but there are terms and conditions to comply with. First, you should understand the food list for EBT to better understand the reason behind the policy. Second, you need to be in a location warranting the use of EBT under the RMP, such as Arizona, Michigan, Florida, and California. According to SNAP Benefits, RMP is designed for the elderly (60+ years), the homeless, and disabled. Some counties in Arizona and California might accept or decline EBT payments. Counties in California that accept the use of EBT at Taco Bell include:
- Los Angeles
- Orange County
- San Diego County
- San Francisco County
- Riverside County
- ·San Luis Obispo County
- Santa Clara County
- Santa Cruz County
- Alameda County
You may use your EBT in the following locations if you’re based in Arizona.
- Golden Corral
- Harris and Smith Coffee Company
- Helpings Café and Market
- Jimmy and Joe’s Pizzeria
- MoonLight Family Restaurant
- Smoke Dem Bones BBQ
- Speedy Street Tacos Corp
- Uncle Sams
- WaBa Grill
- Tasty Box
- 24th St. Pizza & Gyros
Florida also accepts EBT payments in the following locations:
- Taco Bell
- Pizza Hut
- Papa Murphy’s Pizza
Under the SNAP initiative, the following restaurants may accept EBT payments for Michigan State residents.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
- Grandma’s Famous Chicken
- Eight Mile Pancake House
- Mr. T’s BBQ
- Vito’s Pizza
- Church’s Chicken
Some of these locations keep updating their EBT requirements to ensure only eligible people get the EBT benefits they deserve. Some people have tried maneuvering their way before, compelling such outlets to upgrade their systems to reduce such fraudulent scenarios. Before using your card, check with your local EBT provider to recommend the Taco Bell outlets that approve of it. If you don’t live or receive benefits from a state offering RMP, using your EBT card at restaurants might be daunting. Even though federal requirements warrant the usage of EB cards at grocery stores in different states, RMP programs are a bit complicated due to their strict and unique eligibility requirements. Note that while you can use your EBT card in any state, RMP benefits are a bit challenging to fathom. That means if you get your SNAP benefits from a state other than Arizona or California, it’s impossible to use your EBT card at Taco Bell locations in such states. For example, if you’re based in Washington and intend to buy your meal at any Taco Bell outlet in that state, your EBT card might not help you.
In essence, the Restaurant Meals Program is meant for people eligible for EBT but don’t have the means to take the food home and prepare it. This category includes the homeless, elderly, and physically incapacitated. You have a higher chance of being eligible for the RMP benefits if you belong to this category and live in California and Arizona. That means buying ready-to-eat foods is the only way to acquire the nutrition they need. Remember, few states allow such extensions in their programs. Their primary goal is to allow people to access foods at restaurants with EBT cards.