Frequently Asked Questions
Participant Questions

1. What can the Restaurant Meals do for me?
   The Restaurant Meals Program allows homeless, elderly (age 60 or over), or disabled CalFresh individuals to use CalFresh benefits to purchase prepared meals using Golden State Advantage (EBT) card at participating restaurants.
2. How can I find out if I am eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program?
   If you are homeless, elderly (age 60 or over), or disabled receiving Social Security Disability, Railroad Retirement Benefit Annuities, or Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), you may be eligible to purchase meals at participating restaurants.
3. Do I have to apply for the Restaurant Meals Program?
   No, an application is not required, if you are eligible to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.  That is, you meet one of the criteria in question #2.
4. How do I find out if a restaurant is participating in the program?
   A restaurant is participating in the program if the Restaurant Meals Program sign or logo is displayed on its door or window. You may also click here for the list of participating restaurants or ask your Eligibility Worker for a list.
5. Do I have to show an identification card aside from my Golden State Advantage (EBT) card to purchase a meal?
   No, an identification card is no longer required.  All you need is your EBT card to purchase a meal at the restaurants participating in the Restaurant Meals Program.
6. After purchasing a meal, do I get a sales receipt showing my CalFresh benefit balance?
   Yes your sales receipt will show the cost of your meal and your CalFresh benefit balance.
7. Will I be charged a service gratuity or sales tax if I purchase a meal?
   No, the participating restaurants are not allowed to charge a service gratuity or sales tax under the Restaurant Meals Program.
8. If my EBT CalFresh benefit is not enough to purchase a meal, can I use the EBT cash benefit to cover the difference for payment?
   Yes, you must inform the cashier that you will use a mixed transaction (EBT CalFresh and EBT cash combined). Before you buy a meal, check your last receipt or you may call the toll-free EBT Customer Service number (1-877-328-9677 or the TTY at 1-800-735-2929) to find out the balance in your EBT CalFresh account.
9. What do I do if my EBT CalFresh transaction is denied by a participating restaurant?
   You must call your CalFresh Eligibility Worker or call the EBT Customer Service Center number (1-877-328-9677 or the TTY at 1-800-735-2929).
10. Need more information?
   For more information about the Restaurant Meals Program, call your CalFresh Eligibility Worker or you may call Central Help Line at (877-481-1044).

Restaurant Owners Questions

1. What is the purpose of the Restaurant Meals Program?
   The CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program is a voluntary component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It enables the homeless, elderly (age 60 or over), and disabled CalFresh individuals to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants. Its goal is to provide a variety of nutritious meal choices to eligible CalFresh individuals.
2. Are there any fees that I must pay to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?
   There are no fees/dues that a restaurant owner must pay for the Restaurant Meals Program.
3. I have more than one restaurant. Can I apply for all my restaurants to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?
   Yes, you can apply for all your restaurants to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.
4. How long does it take to become an authorized restaurant?
   The entire process to become authorized takes approximately 60 days.
5. What happens if a participating restaurant changes ownership or closes for business?
   The restaurant owner must notify the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), CalFresh Program and the Food Stamp and Nutrition Service (FNS) when a restaurant changes ownership or closes. This ensures that the authorization is cancelled immediately since the previous owner's authorization is NOT TRANSFERABLE. If the new owner wants to continue to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, he/she must sign an MOU with the County of Los Angeles and apply for authorization with the FNS.
6. How do I know if a customer who provides a Golden State Advantage (EBT) card is eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program?
   The state issued Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) equipment or your EBT integrated Point-of-Sale (POS) devise has an Automated Eligibility Identifier that enables to automatically identify if an EBT card can be processed for the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program. EBT cards work similar to ATM and credit cards.
7. How can I handle a customer whose Golden State Advantage (EBT) card was denied when processed on the EBT/POS device?
   You may inform the customer to contact his/her CalFresh Eligibility Worker at the DPSS local office or to call the EBT Customer Service Center at (877-328-9677 or the TYY at 800-735-2929).
8. Can I process an EBT cash transaction when an EBT cardholder, not eligible to participate in the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program, wants to use the EBT cash as payment for meals?
   Yes, an EBT cardholder not eligible for the program, but does have EBT cash portion on its card may use it at any sites with EBT equipment, even at the Restaurant Meals Program sites.
9. Can a participating restaurant allow a mixed transaction (EBT CalFresh and EBT Cash combined)?
   Yes, you may process a mixed transaction when EBT cardholder, eligible for the program, informs the cashier that meal payment is EBT CalFresh and EBT Cash combined.
10. How can the eligible CalFresh individuals know that our restaurant is participating in the program?
   Your restaurant name and address will be placed on a list of participating restaurants, which we provide to eligible participants through our local district offices, community organizations, community partners and advocates. The list of participating restaurants can also be accessed through the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Web Page.
How long does it take to be reimbursed for the Golden State Advantage (EBT) card meal purchases?
    EBT meals purchases are usually reimbursed within forty-eight hours.

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