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Food Stamps Accepted in Restaurants in AZ, CA, FL, MI

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 08, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In some states, you can use food stamps in restaurants. Traditionally, food stamps couldn't be used to purchase prepared foods. But now, a new pilot program has made it so that some consumers can use food stamps for fast food.

Food stamps are distributed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The federal government has allowed states to decide if elderly, disabled or homeless people can use food stamps for prepared restaurant food. Arizona, California, Michigan and Florida are the only four states that have decided to let food stamps be used for restaurant food.

Will your state join the list?

It's important to note that this program is only extended to the elderly, disabled or homeless.

They're the ones that will most benefit from getting prepared restaurant foods. Homeless individuals don't have kitchen spaces to cook meals, so buying unprepared foods at a grocery store may not be all that helpful.

Those with disabilities might have a harder time cooking. And lastly, studies have shown that seniors are less likely to eat if they don't get hot meals, Steve Meissner of the Arizona Department of Economic Security told KSAZ-TV.

Restaurants and fast food chains are lobbying for the expansion of the program. Yum! Brands, the parent company of fast food chains KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, is one of the program's staunchest advocates, UPI reports.

Is using food stamps for fast foods a good idea? Using food stamps in restaurants is one thing, but fast food has consistently been derailed by nutritionists and health experts. Consumers don't usually equate fast food with "health." But, when you're starving, poor, and have no ability to cook, is it really such a bad alternative?

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