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Food Stamps Could Be Redeemed At Restaurants If Illinois Bill Passes

CHICAGO (CBS)--Food stamps could be redeemed at restaurants if a measure proposed by the Illinois House becomes law.

As the current law in Illinois stands, food stamp recipients can use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers at grocery stores, but not at restaurants.

House Bill 3343, the 'Restaurant Meals Program', would expand the options for food stamp-users by allowing them to eat at certain restaurants that contract with the Department of Human Services, the agency that runs Illinois' food stamps program.

Only SNAP benefit recipients who are disabled, elderly or homeless; or their spouses would qualify for the 'Restaurant Meals Program.'

California and Arizona have similar laws that allow food stamp recipients to use their benefits at restaurants.

Both states currently allow vouchers to be used at Subway and Jack in the Box, the Illinois Policy Institute reports.

It hasn't been determined which restaurants would accept SNAP benefits in Illinois if the bill passes.

If the bill is signed into law, it would go into effect Jan. 1 of next year.

The legislation has passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate.


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