Can You Buy Hot Food With Food Stamps In Texas?

can you buy hot food with food stamps in texas

Can You Buy Hot Food With Food Stamps In Texas?


This community resource guide will answer the question of whether or not you can buy hot food with food stamps in Texas.

There is some misinformation about this topic on the internet and we want to provide you with a clear answer.

Keep reading to learn if you can purchase hot food with your Texas SNAP benefits.

Can You Purchase Hot Food With EBT In Texas?

No, you cannot buy hot food with food stamps in Texas. According to the Texas Administrative Code, “a client must not use SNAP benefits to purchase hot foods or hot food products prepared for immediate consumption”.

Below is a screenshot of an email response from a Texas Health and Human Services employee that states you cannot use SNAP benefits to buy hot foods in Texas.

can you buy hot foods with TANF in texas
The highlighted section confirms that you cannot buy hot foods with food stamps in Texas.

In addition, here is a screenshot from the Texas Secretary of State website that further explains the rules regarding the things you cannot use your SNAP benefits to buy.

Can you buy hot food with food stamps in Texas
According to this Texas Administrative Code, you cannot buy hot foods with EBT in Texas.

Some states allow food stamp recipients to use their SNAP benefits to make purchases at fast food restaurants, but this is not the case in Texas. Our state does not participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.

What Is The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program?

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) is a government-sponsored program that allows fast food restaurants to accept payments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. This initiative allows specific low-income individuals to get meals from participating fast food restaurants.

As aforementioned Texas is one of many states that does not participate in the Restaurant Meals Program. The only states that participate (as a whole) are:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

You COULD Buy Hot Foods With SNAP Benefits In Texas During The Winter Storm

This is no longer the case though…

When the Texas Winter Storm hit in February of 2021, Governor Greg Abbot announced that food stamp recipients could use their benefits to purchase hot foods and ready-to-eat meals as a result of the winter weather.

Texas SNAP benefit recipients were able to purchase hot foods starting in February 2021. This “exception to the rule” lasted until March 31st, 2021. This was the last time that hot foods could be purchased with SNAP benefits in Texas.

During national disasters, it’s possible that Texas will allow EBT cardholders to buy hot foods with SNAP benefits, but in general, this is not allowed.

You Can Buy Hot Foods With TANF In Texas

According to the Texas Health and Human Services representative I spoke with, you can purchase hot and prepared foods if you receive welfare in Texas.

Again SNAP cannot be used to buy hot foods, but according to the THHS worker you can use TANF benefits to purchase hot foods in Texas.

 

can you buy hot foods with TANF in texas
According to a Texas Health and Human Service employee, you can buy hot foods with Texas TANF benefits.

Editor’s Note: I tried searching for confirmation of this rule regarding TANF and the purchase of hot foods, but could not find anything on the Texas Health and Human Services website. You can however contact THHS at 800.777.7328 if you would like confirmation of this.

What Stores Can I Purchase Food With My Texas EBT Card?

You can use your food stamp card at places in Texas like:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Dollar stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Big box store
  • Membership warehouses

In our guide titled What Restaurants Accept EBT In Texas, you will find listings of specific stores (Walmart, Costco, Dollar General, etc) where you can buy food with your SNAP benefits card.

Conclusion

In general, you cannot use Texas food stamps to buy hot or prepared foods. This was confirmed by a Texas Health and Human Services worker and the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

According to a Texas Administrative Code, food stamp recipients cannot use Texas SNAP benefits to buy hot foods or hot food products prepared for immediate use.

There are however expectations in some cases…

In situations like the Texas Winter Storm of 2021, an exception was made to allow SNAP recipients the ability to buy hot foods. This rule expired on March 31st, 2021. This was the last time that you could buy hot food with food stamps in Texas.

If you have more questions about whether you can buy hot foods in Texas with food stamp benefits you can call the Lone Star Help Desk at 800.777.7328 or visit the Texas Health and Human Services website.

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