The Florida Meals Project

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

By Alvin Codner:


Florida Meals Project (FMP) And FMP Component: E&T


Primary Objective of the FMP:


The Florida Meals Project will allow eligible homeless, disabled, and/or elderly (ages 60 and above)… who are SNAP recipients, to use their EBT card to purchase hot, prepared food from participating restaurants.


Florida Meals Project Component: Employment and Training (E&T) :


The FMP E&T framework includes a vision, mission, and strategic goals that help define success and lay the core foundation for the program’s E&T. These strategic goals are focused around a central vision to increase the employment and earning capacity of FMP recipients by maximizing their access to FMP benefits, E&T, supportive services, skills, and credentialing.

Vision Increase the employment and earning capacity of all Florida Meals Program recipients

Mission Provide help to Florida Meals Program recipients to reach self-sufficiency through employment and training strategies/supportive services, vocational skills, and credentialing.

Strategic Goals 1. Increase job placement, retention, and wages 2. Increase FMP E&T participation across a dynamic mix of people, communities, and cultures 3. Increase employability by removing barriers to employment 4. Increase skills attainment and credentialing 5. Lead an efficient and effective customer-focused E&T program

*Each county will be over which dates, location, and times that trainings will be held.


Project Possible Proposals


  • SNAP Recipients to have the option/ability to purchase hot meals from selective restaurants.

  • Pilot Programs: Osceola, Orange, Polk

  • Provide/inform SNAP recipients different budgeting meal plans for them to manage their benefits throughout their monthly assistance.

  • E & T Program (DCF may already have a version of this)

  • Increase the FPL from 200% to a higher percentage.

  • Change the resulting amount from not exceeding 100% to a higher percentage.

  • Change Semi-Annual to Tri-Annual Reporting

  • State give authority given to local government City and or County to enact a Restaurants Meal Program

  • Allowing Snap recipients to be eligible to pick up their EBT card at local government building.

Dear Congresswoman Murphy,

Since 1977, the federal Food Stamp Act has given states the ability to enact a Restaurant Meals Program. The Florida Meals Project allows vulnerable and at-risk populations, such as the people who are homeless, elderly, and disabled, who cannot cook meals for themselves at home and or cannot cook meals because they have no place to reside. Through this program, these specific, qualifying individuals are allowed to use their EBT/SNAP food benefits to purchase affordable meals at select restaurants.

Versions of this program has been successfully adopted in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Michigan, and Rhode Island. However, it is not yet available in our state to my knowledge. Based on my research I have seen a limited version projected in Alachua County, but I am not sure if that program is still up and running or was ever implemented.

Please take action to introduce the Florida Meals Project in our state. If certain objectives within the program doesn’t seem feasible, please be open to suggesting alternative options and or giving the authority to the local government level to implement the program per county and or city by a majority vote.

Sincerely, Alvin Codner

Cardholder Eligibility

FMP eligibility for EBT cardholders is determined by each county and is automatically verified through the point-of-sale (POS) equipment at the time of each EBT transaction at authorized restaurants. If a client is ineligible, an error message will appear on the POS device and the transaction will not be approved. Denial codes displayed on POS systems vary.

County or City Participation

Each county determines if it wants to participate in the FMP. Counties or Cities interested in participating must submit a proposal to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Restaurant Participation

Restaurants must be located within a county that’s participating in the FMP. To determine if your county is participating, check with the county's Department of Social Services. A restaurant interested in accepting FMP benefits must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the county. This MOU must be submitted with the federal application for authorization. Call the SNAP Retailer Service Center () to obtain a paper Meal Service Application or you can download and print off the PDF Form FNS-252-2 at https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/snap/Attachment-A-FNS-252-2.pdf

Once enrolled in the FMP, a restaurant must have or obtain POS equipment that can process EBT transactions, and the equipment must include a personal identification number (PIN) pad.

Taxes Restaurants are prohibited from charging sales tax or meal tax on prepared foods purchased with EBT food benefits, such as FMP or SNAP benefits. However, prepared foods purchased with EBT cash benefits are taxable.

Eligibility and Issuance Requirements

For households to receive FMP benefits they must provide certain information in the following areas:

Citizenship/Immigration Status

Certain non-citizens such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence may be eligible for FMP benefits. Eligible household members can get FMP benefits even if other members of the household are not eligible.

In general, FMP eligibility is available to most lawfully-present immigrants who:

· Have lived in the country (in a qualified status) for five (5) years, or

· Are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits, regardless of entry date, or

· Are children under 18 years of age who are qualified and lawfully-admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationalization Act.

· Non-citizens that are in the U.S. temporarily, such as students* or tourists are not eligible just as undocumented individuals are not eligible.

- More information can be found in the Federal Non-Citizen Guide .

Income

FMP households, except those containing an aged (60 or older) or disabled member or where all members receive cash assistance, are subject to gross and net income determination tests. Gross Income – all non-excludable income from any source including all earned income and all unearned income. The original maximum growth is 200% of the FPL but, if possible, the FMP presents the maximum gross allowed to be increased[except for households who are sanctioned, households with certain convicted drug felons (until April 1, 2015) or households who have been convicted of an Intentional Program Violation]. If the household passes the gross income test, then the net income test is computed. Net income is computed by deducting the following, if applicable, from gross income. The resultant amount originally could not exceed 100% of the FPL but the FMP suggest the amount not to proceed the a increased percentage amount.

Earned income has an allowable deduction of 20% (i.e., 80% of the gross earned income counts in the calculation of benefit levels). Examples of earned income include wages and salaries, striker's benefits, etc.

Standard Deduction – A deduction allowed per household per month. $164 for households of 1–3 persons, $174 for 4 persons, $204 for 5 persons, and $234 for 6 or more persons (effective 10/1/18). Liable to change due to IRS yearly change of Tax Rates and Standard Deduction Amounts.

Excess Shelter – A monthly shelter cost in excess of 50% of the household's income after all above deductions are considered. The excess shelter deduction must not exceed the current maximum of $552 (effective 10/1/18). Liable to change due to IRS yearly change of Tax Rates and Standard Deduction Amounts.