With 450+ locations across the country, El Pollo Loco is a restaurant chain that offers fire-grilled chicken as well as sides such as rice, broccoli, etc. But is EBT accepted as a method of payment?
El Pollo Loco does accept EBT for meal purchases in states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP).
For more information about using your EBT card, carry on reading!
How To Use Your EBT Card At El Pollo Loco
To use your EBT card, you will first need to locate a El Pollo Loco branch that accepts it in your state.
It is easy to recognize if the El Pollo Loco branch in your county accepts EBT payments– check door signs that show SNAP EBT payments are accepted.
Your card will be swiped at the register, and a prompt will appear for you to enter a four-digit PIN. Payments will be automatically processed.
Which States Participate In The Restaurant Meals Program?
Several American states have opted to join the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program, including:
- Rhode Island
In these states, you can apply for the Restaurant Meals Program to use your EBT at restaurants like El Pollo Loco.
Do All Fast-Food Restaurants Accept EBT?
Unfortunately, not all fast-food restaurants accept EBT. In fact, many of them don’t, and this is mainly due to the requirements of the SNAP benefits program rather than restaurant protocol.
In most places in the US, EBT cards can only be used to buy food ingredients from grocery stores rather than prepared meals.
However, if a fast-food restaurant does accept EBT, the only way you will be able to use your card is if you are enrolled in the Restaurant Meals Program.
Further, this program allows those with disabilities, poor health, or those without access to a kitchen to use EBT at restaurants.
Who Qualifies For The Restaurant Meals Program?
To qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program for SNAP benefits, you must either be elderly, have a disability that prevents you from cooking or be without a home or permanent residence.
Furthermore, people over 60 years old can apply for the Restaurant Meals Program in the states listed above.
What Items Can You Buy With EBT?
You can use EBT to buy the following items:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, fish, and poultry
- Snack foods
- Dairy products like cheese and butter
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Plants and seeds that produce food for households
What Items Can’t You Buy With EBT?
As per the guidelines, these are the items you cannot buy with your EBT card:
- Household supplies
- Pet foods
- Alcoholic drinks
- Soaps, paper products
- Hot foods
- Foods that are eaten in the store
El Pollo Loco Other Payment Options
El Pollo Loco offers customers a variety of other ways to pay for their purchases including.
- Samsung Pay
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- El Pollo Loco gift cards
- Major Credit Cards
- Debit cards
Types of Food Stamp Benefits
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides low-income households with food assistance. Eligible households can receive SNAP benefits to help pay for groceries.
To be eligible for SNAP, households must meet certain income and resource criteria. Income limits vary by household size, and resources include bank accounts, cash, stocks, and bonds.
Households that are eligible for other means-tested programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program automatically qualify for SNAP benefits.
In order to receive SNAP benefits, households must submit an application to their local social service agency. Once approved, households will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card which can be used to purchase food at participating grocery stores and farmers markets.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that provides additional assistance to low-income families.
The TANF portion of the EBT card may be used on non-food items, including cleaning supplies and party supplies
How Do I Know I Am Eligible for an EBT Card?
Your eligibility for SNAP/ EBT benefits is determined by the following:
- Gross monthly income at or below 130% of the poverty line.
- The household assets must not be more than $2500 in value for households without an elder or living with a disability.
- The net income must be at or below the poverty line
In a house with such dependents, the assets must be less than $3500.
The following persons are not eligible for SNAP benefits:
- Persons on strike
- Certain classes of legal immigrants
- Undocumented immigrants
If you are an adult without a disability or kids in the household, you can only receive benefits for three months at a time.
Where Can You Use EBT Online?
It’s important to know that not all retailers accept EBT cards for online purchases. However, there are a number of major retailers that do accept EBT cards for online shopping.
- Wright’s Markets
- Fresh Direct
- Food lion
- BJs Wholesale Club
If you’re unsure whether or not a retailer accepts EBT cards, it’s always best to call or check their website before attempting to make a purchase.
Second, even if a retailer does accept EBT cards for online purchases, there may be some restrictions on what you can buy.
How to Pay Online With EBT
To pay online with EBT,
Look for the option to add your card at checkout because retailers that accept it have it displayed prominently on these pages.
When you see the option, you’ll need to input your EBT card details along with your PIN just like you would a regular credit or debit card.
You can save your details and use your card as one of your regular payment methods on subsequent purchases.
EBT for online payments is only an option in certain states depending on whether the retailer or service you’re buying from has received permission from the government.
Do Cashiers Know I’m on Welfare if I Use My EBT Card?
A cashier will know you’re receiving government assistance. The card itself clearly says EBT on the front of it, in large letters.
When you run the card, the cashier will also have to select the account you’re using, SNAP or cash.
While this may not be something that is openly discussed, it is definitely something that they are aware of. For some people, this can be a source of embarrassment or shame.
However, it is important to remember that cashiers are just doing their job and they are not judging you. There is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about using your EBT card.
El Pollo Loco does take EBT purchases, but only in states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.
Through the program, disadvantaged people who can’t prepare their meals due to disabilities, old age, and lack of stable housing can purchase affordable meals at El Pollo Loco.