Restaurant Meals Program – Maryland Department of Human Services

Restaurant Meals Program

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows elderly, homeless, and disabled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients to use their SNAP benefits for prepared or hot food from participating restaurants and delis. SNAP households experiencing homelessness can also use their EBT benefits to purchase meals at a concessional (discount) price from restaurants that have contracted with the federal government to participate in the RMP.

If you are interested in participating in the RMP, read the information below

restaurant meals program for recipients

Program Overview for Qualified SNAP Recipients

Program Overview
The RMP offers qualified Maryland SNAP recipients the option to use their Independence (EBT) card to purchase prepared meals from participating restaurants. This program is available to SNAP recipients who meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Are experiencing homelessness,
  2. Are age 60 or older- this includes spouses (husband, wife, common-law husband, common-law wife), or
  3. Are Disabled – this includes the spouse of the disabled individual if the two are the only participants on the SNAP case

A SNAP recipient’s eligibility to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program will be reviewed at every redetermination. If a recipient is determined ineligible for the program at their next recertification, he or she can no longer use an EBT card to buy prepared food at restaurants.

How to Use Your EBT Card for the Restaurant Meals Program

Purchasing Meals from participating restaurants

and delis is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 –4

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1. Look for participating restaurants which are listed below, or ask your Eligibility Worker for a list of participating restaurants.

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2. Call 1-800-997-2222 or visit www.connectebt.com to confirm the balance on your EBT card.

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3. Purchase breakfast, lunch, or dinner from participating restaurants by using your EBT card.

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4. Receive a receipt for each meal purchase to show the cost of your meal and the balance on your benefits account.

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List of Restaurants by State Jurisdiction

DHS is piloting the Restaurant Meals Program in the current counties. Additional jurisdictions will be added as the program expands to other jurisdictions. The DHS is actively seeking restaurants to participate in the RMP.

2 Soul Sisters Restaurant, Lusby, MD (Calvert Co.)

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Frequently asked questions for participants

The Restaurant Meals Program allows elderly, disabled, and homeless SNAP recipients to use their EBT cards to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants

No, participating in the Restaurant Meals Program will not change your benefit amount. The Restaurant Meals Program allows eligible recipients the option of using their SNAP benefits at participating restaurants.

Please visit dhs.maryland.gov to see a list of participating restaurants in your county. Please note that you will not be able to purchase meals at restaurants outside of Maryland.

Yes, your sales receipt will show the cost of your meal and your SNAP benefit balance.

No, the participating restaurants are not allowed to charge tax under the Restaurant Meals Program.

No, you cannot use your SNAP benefits to purchase alcoholic beverages, or any non-food items

Yes, you must inform the cashier that you will use a mixed transaction (SNAP EBT and EBT cash combined)

1-800-997-2222 or visit www.connectebt.com to check your EBT card balance to ensure that you have available funds.

You are advised to confirm that you have funds on your EBT card before going to the restaurant. Please callor visitto check your EBT card balance to ensure that you have available funds.

Restaurant meals program for vendors

Interested in Participating?

Each SNAP recipient receives an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card which is primarily used to purchase groceries at authorized retailers. A restaurant interested in Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) must apply to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to receive authorization to accept EBT as a form of payment at their facilities. The application packet includes the following forms and documents.

FNS 252-2 Form (please note the form instructions provided following this section A signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MD DHS

FNS 252-2 Instructions

  • Restaurant Meals Program applicants will join as a private, for-profit Restaurant and indicate whether their business is a franchise.
  • A restaurant is defined as a private, for-profit establishment where meals are sold or served to customers.
  • Enter store information (also included as Site #1 in Part 3),
  • Or enter corporate information if the restaurant is owned by a corporation.
  • Must be filled out completely for each location including the telephone number. This telephone number will print on the bottom of EBT receipts.
  • Include store number of the franchise under Site Name. (E.g.: Subway #4217).
  • If there are more than three sites, the applicant may make additional copies of page two to report all restaurants or they can create a Word or Excel file that contains all the required information for each location. Manager information would be entered in this section for large chains.
  • This section applies to owners and their spouses
  • Home addresses are required.
  • A photo ID and verification of Social Security Number are required for all owners/officers and their spouses.

Note: Elements of Part 4 including restaurant name, location, days of operation, and meals served, will be gathered for use in an informational listing. This listing will be distributed to recipients and posted online.

All questions must be answered.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

  • Provide all Required Documentation including:
    • Copy of a government-issued photo identification card and a copy of a Social Security card, or other verification of a Social Security Number (e.g.: tax form) for:
    • all owners/partners
    • all officer(s) of private corporations, also
    • provides for spouses of owners/officers
  • Note: Above documentation is not required for publicly-owned corporations.

  • Copy of a valid business license. (A health permit or business license is required for each location. It should be current and have the correct address of the location and correct ownership.)

Restaurant Meals Program Details

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Frequently asked questions for restaurants

The Maryland Department of Human Services (MD DHS) will collect all required documentation from the restaurant and submit the package to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Please submit all applications and supporting documents via mail to the address below.:
USDA
Food and Nutrition Services
PO Box 7228 (USPS Only)
Falls Church, VA 22040

  • A copy of a government-issued photo identification card and a copy of a
    Social Security card, or other verification of Social Security Number for

    • All owners/partners
    • All officer(s) of private corporations
  • Copy of MOU with MD DHS
  • Copy of valid business license/health permit
  • Signed certificate and signature statement (page 4) of the application, for each owner, partner,
    and corporate officer
  • FNS-252 Form – SNAP application for stores https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailer-apply

Once we have a completed application package, FNS has 45 days to make an authorization decision. The average approval times varies based on application volume

A business cannot be both a retailer, food store, and restaurant. So a firm can only qualify for one program or the other. A restaurant or carry-out food business is defined as a business with 50% or more of its gross sales in prepared foods

After you are authorized by FNS to accept EBT as a form of payment, you will need to choose a Point of Sale (POS) equipment. If you already have the equipment, talk to your current processor about programming it to accept EBT and to obtain cost information. A partial list of available vendors for EBT equipment and services can be found at this link: SNAP EBT Third Party Processor List . You are not required to select from one of the companies on the list; you should review the cost of leasing or purchasing equipment and services and make the best choice for your business.

Link to FNS website to become a vendor

Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to complete FNS 252-2 form