In Maryland, the Department of Human Resources maintains the Food Supplemental Program. The program is designed to help low-income individuals and families afford a good diet for themselves and dependents. The federal name for this program goes by SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Food Supplement Program delivers monthly benefits through an Electronic Benefits Transfer System also called an EBT card. With an EBT card, a benefits recipient can shop at any grocery store or super market and buy food approved by the USDA for the food stamp program. It is important to note that the food assistance program is not meant to provide all of the funds necessary to purchase food. Rather it is used to supplement income and offset the costs. It also allows families to purchase the basic nutritional items necessary for a healthy diet. You can find out more information about the program from the Department of Human Resources website for the Food Supplement Program. As with programs in other states, you must apply and pass eligibility rules to receive food stamp benefits.
Applying for Food Stamps
You can apply at a local Department of Social Services. You can consult a Directory of Local Department Offices to apply in person. At the office, you can pick up a form and mail it in later or turn it in after filling it out. You may also file by fax or you may have someone else drop off the application for you at a later date. The most convenient way to apply is online. You can use Maryland's SAIL website to fill out an application. You can find out more about your eligibility and start an application by looking on the left side panel. Click on "Start an Application" and then "Start New Application" to begin. You will need to provide some basic information about yourself during this process, such as your name, contact details and social security number. You will also have to have proof of income and residency, as U.S. citizenship, Maryland residency and low income determine who receives food stamps benefits. You have up to 30 days to complete an application once started on the SAIL platform. You can always come back to an application within 30 days or update an application with new information.
Receiving Food Stamps
After your application is processed, you have to go through an interview with someone at a human resource office, either at the office or by phone. Once the interview is over, you may receive an approval letter and EBT card in the mail. The amount of benefits that you receive will depend largely on the number of people requesting benefits in your household, but eligible household members who apply will be able to get benefits even though some people in the household are not seeking benefits. Eligibility is also dependent on your income and where you fall on the federal poverty level. You can view the Am I Eligible webpage, which allows you to go through a quick screening process to determine your eligibility. You will need to know some information about your income and resources. Once you screen yourself, you will know whether or not your income falls below the income limit for Maryland. Most individuals and families who make less than $2,000 a month are eligible to receive benefits, though the factors do vary depending on the amount of dependents in your household. Once you are approved, you will receive your funds monthly through an electronic transfer to an EBT card that you can use at any grocery or super market store on approved food items.
Finding Food Service Locations
SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. You can also contact local offices in Maryland by consulting the Maryland Local Department of Social Services by County List. This list contains all of the counties in Maryland and provides you with addresses and phone numbers to contact representatives in your area.