New bill could allow SNAP benefits to be used for fast food


    New bill wants to expand SNAP benefits program (WICS)

    There is a new bill working its way through the Statehouse to allow people to use food stamps to buy fast food.

    Right now, you can only use that money to buy groceries at a store or farmer’s market but if this bill is signed into law, you could order a burger at the nearest fast food joint.

    House Bill 3343 would establish a Restaurant Meals Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. If passed, recipients can use their monthly allotment to buy meals from restaurants.

    Only certain recipients qualify: the elderly, disabled, homeless people and their spouses.

    “Somebody who's homeless, for example, they don't have a place to prepare that food or somebody who's disabled, they're not able to come home and cook a meal themselves,” State Representative Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said.

    Although Demmer supports the bill, but he also has some concerns.

    “The prices of foods at restaurants are higher than what it might be at the grocery store and so, there's a little bit of a trade-off there. So we want to make sure people aren't running out of benefits at the end of the month,” Demmer said.

    If the bill becomes law, restaurants will have to be certified to participate in the program.

    “They're already participating on the grocery side of it and hopefully it's a relatively simple process to get certified on the restaurant side,” Demmer said.

    California and Arizona already have similar programs set up where you can use SNAP benefits at Subway and Jack-in-the-Box.

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