Restaurants and EBT

California’s Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows eligible homeless, elderly, and/or disabled EBT cardholders receiving CalFresh benefits to purchase hot prepared foods at participating restaurants using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

Cardholder Eligibility
RMP eligibility for EBT cardholders is determined by each county and is automatically verified through the point-of-sale (POS) equipment at the time of each EBT transaction at authorized restaurants. If a client is ineligible, an error message will appear on the POS device and the transaction will not be approved. Denial codes displayed on POS systems vary.

County Participation
Each county determines if it wants to participate in the RMP. Counties interested in participating must submit a proposal to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Proposal requirements are detailed in the CDSS All County Information Notice No. 1-31-04 at:
For more information on the RMP, call (916) 654-1396 or visit

Restaurant Participation
Restaurants must be located within a county that’s participating in the RMP. To determine if your county is participating, check with the county's Department of Public Social Services or Department of Health and Human Services. See for county contact information or call (916) 654-2236. A restaurant interested in accepting CalFresh benefits must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the county. This MOU must be submitted with the federal application for authorization. Call the SNAP Retailer Service Center at (877) 823-4369 to obtain a paper Meal Service Application, Form FNS-252-2. Once enrolled in the RMP, a restaurant must have or obtain POS equipment that can process EBT transactions, and the equipment must include a personal identification number (PIN) pad.
Restaurants are prohibited from charging sales tax or meal tax on prepared foods purchased with EBT food benefits, such as CalFresh or SNAP benefits. However, prepared foods purchased with EBT cash benefits are taxable.

For more information about the RMP, call the CDSS at (916) 654-1396.

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