What is the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program? – Am I Eligible?

The CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows eligible SNAP EBT cardholders to use their CalFresh EBT card to buy hot food at approved restaurants and fast food places. In this post, we are going to describe in details what the Restaurant Meals Program is about, who is eligible and the list of counties currently participating in the program.

Continue reading below for details.

Table of Contents:

  • What is the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program?
  • California Restaurant Meals Program Eligibility Requirements
  • CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program List
  • Restaurant Meals Program FAQs

"CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program"

What is the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program?

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), also known as the CalFresh Hot Meals Program, allows CalFresh recipients who are 60 years of age or older, disabled, or homeless to use their CalFresh benefits to purchase lower cost prepared meals at approved participating restaurants.

If you fit one of the groups described above, you can use your CalFresh California EBT card at select restaurants and fast-food chains within the state.

As of September 1, 2021, the RMP has expanded to a statewide program and is managed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

Therefore, restaurant vendors who are federally approved may participate in the RMP statewide, within all 58 counties in California.

If you see the sign below at a restaurant in California, it means that restaurant has been approved to participate in the RMP.

"California Restaurant Meals Program"

California Restaurant Meals Program Eligibility Requirements

To use your CalFresh Golden State Advantage EBT Card at restaurants and fast-food chains, you must first meet certain requirements.

To be eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program, you must:

  • Currently be enrolled and receiving CalFresh benefits
  • Have an active California EBT Card
    Plus, you are:
  • an adult aged 60 or older,
  • a person with a disability,
  • the spouse of an individual that belongs to one of the above categories, or
  • a person experiencing homelessness.

If you do not meet the requirements listed above, you are not eligible to use your California EBT Card at restaurants and fast food chains.

CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program List

As of February 2023, the restaurant meals program is active in 37 counties in California, with the CDSS working to bring the program to all 58 counties in the near future.

Here’s the list of participating counties:

Restaurant Meals Program FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the RMP.

Does California have restaurant meals program?

Yes, California participates in the Restaurant Meals Program, which is also known as the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program.

To be eligible, you have to be homeless, elderly (age 60 or older), or disabled.

Can I get hot food with EBT in California?

Yes, you can purchase hot food with your EBT card if you are approved for the restaurant meals program in your county.

To be eligible for the RMP, you have to be homeless, elderly (age 60 or older), or disabled.

How do I know if I am approved for the Hot Meals Program?

If you believe you are eligible for the RMP, contact your county CalFresh office and complete an application.

You must be a current CalFresh recipient to be eligible to apply for the RMP.

CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program Summary

Here’s the bottom line:

The Restaurant Meals program applies to those who are homeless, elderly (age 60 or older), or disabled.

If you are one of the groups above and have an active California EBT Card, you can use your CalFresh benefits to buy food at select restaurants, including fast food restaurants.

Currently, 37 counties in California participate in the program and the CDSS has plans to expand the RMP to all 58 counties.

Questions?

We hope this post on the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program was helpful.

If you have further questions about CalFresh or California EBT Card, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about CalFresh and CalFresh EBT, including:

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