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Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs
Maryland – Making Home Affordable options
Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help Maryland homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Maryland homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.
There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.
Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:
- Lower your monthly mortgage payments with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Lower your interest rate with Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Check eligibility for principal reduction with Principal Reduction Alternative SM (PRA)
- Get help if currently unemployed with Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
- Reduce your 2nd mortgage monthly payments with Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
- Explore your foreclosure alternatives with Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673 (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.
Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in Maryland
Food Supplement Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program, as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is in charge of the SNAP nationally. Learn more about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies.
In Maryland, the SNAP is called The Food Supplement Program and is administered by Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR). The Federal Government pays 100% of Maryland Food Stamp benefits with federal grants appropriated for SNAP. The SNAP federal grants also pay a share of the Maryland SNAP administrative cost
According to Maryland DHR the Food Supplement Program helps low-income households buy the food they need for good health and everyone has the right to apply for it.
Who is Eligible for Food Supplement Benefits in Maryland?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Maryland, like in other States, are based on the household resources, income, household size, and are largely determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. For example, Maryland DHR can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.
Maryland Food Supplement Program is a food assistance program, primarily designed for individuals and families in need of help, with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
Maryland residents in need of food assistance must file an application, provide supporting documents if requested, pass an eligibility interview, and get approved before start getting Food Supplement Benefits.
In general, to qualify for Food Supplement Benefits you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Maryland Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, all able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 years of age must register for work, accept an offer of suitable work, and take part in an employment and training program if referred to one by the State local department of social services;
- Income Limits – Income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Households with elderly (60 years of age or older) or disabled individuals must meet only the net income limits. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits and other. Check the table with Food Supplement Program income limits per household size below.
[table id=39 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
Some Maryland residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for Food Supplement Benefits if they already participate in other means tested assistance programs. Getting any benefits including pamphlets from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), funded by federal grants, or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Assistance categorically eligible, thus bypassing the income eligibility and any asset eligibility rules. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States can assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any TANF-funded benefit that can make food stamps applicants eligible. Call 1-800-332-6347 to find more on Food Supplement Program eligibility.
Food Supplement Benefits Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you might be eligible to get Maryland Food Supplement Benefits (Food Stamps). The screening allows interested in getting Maryland food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
Although you will be notified immediately on the screen if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make an application at your Maryland local DHR Office. Even if you are unsure whether you qualify you still may be eligible for Food Supplement Benefits and you should still apply. Only a Maryland DHR Office can determine your eligibility and grant you food stamp benefits.
What are the Maryland Food Supplement Benefits in Dollar Amount?
If approved, the Food Supplement (Food Stamp) Benefit amount depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household. Check below what are the maximum allowed food stamp monetary amounts. The dollar amounts are called allotments.
[table id=29 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments
How to Apply for Food Supplement Benefits (Food Stamps) in Maryland?
In Maryland, there is one statewide application for Food Supplement Program, Temporary Cash Assistance, and Medical Assistance benefits. Although each of these programs has its own specific eligibility rules, anyone who is interested in one or more of the listed assistance programs can apply using the same application.
Maryland residents in need of food assistance benefits can file an application via the SAIL web tool, get the application online, or go in one of the local DHR Office. You may also ask for the application over the phone or by mail.
When applying for Maryland Food Supplement Program benefits you need to fill out all required information on the application concerning the assistance you are applying for. Providing a complete application will result most likely in a quicker eligibility determination.
The application must have at least name, address and signature of the applicant to be accepted by the Maryland DHR Office. All required information can be provided later at the interview.
Before decision is made a Maryland DHR worker has to review all submitted information and interview the applicant. If the applicant is eligible, they will receive a notice stating how much food supplement benefit and for how long is the applicant eligible for. Call Maryland DHR Customer Call Center at 1-800-332-6347 if you have questions about the Food Supplement Program and the application process.
Food Assistance Supplement (Food Stamps) Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
If you submitted application for Food Supplement Benefits and the DHR have scheduled you for an interview, they may require you to bring certain application supporting documents and proofs. DHR lists examples of required verification:
- Verification of income, such has but not limited to: paystubs, letter from employer or award letter.
- Child-support payments, such as a court order and cancelled checks and the legal obligation to pay;
- Verification of legal immigrant status for eligible immigrants;
- Medical expenses for individuals 60 or older or disabled;
- Any information which is questionable or conflicting.
In Maryland, when receiving food stamps, physically and mentally fit adults ages 16 through 59 years old must register for work, accept offers of suitable work, and take part in an employment and training programs when referred, if they are not exempted. The federal rules state that healthy adults ages 18 through 49 years old who do not have dependent children can only receive food assistance benefits for 3 months in a 36-month period if they are not working or participating in a work or workfare program. The Maryland Food Supplement Program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries regarding income limits, deductions, limits of resources and exemptions from work requirements.
All Food Supplement Program beneficiaries are required to complete eligibility reviews, usually every 6 or 12 months, in order to continue receiving food stamps benefits. The DHR Office usually mails a notice with instructions what is required when it is time for the household to renew its Food Supplement Benefits.
Applicants waiting for Food Supplement Benefits approval in Maryland should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local DHR Office.
Households getting Food Supplement Benefits must report any changes of their household situation in a period of time determined by the local office in order to assure their participation in the Food Assistance program.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Assistance Benefits?
Approved for Food Assistance Benefits get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards and accounts enabling them to use the food assistance benefits at any grocery stores and farmers’ markets in Maryland that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Benefits are made available from the 6th to the 15th of every month, based on the first letter of the recipient’s last name.
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or Maryland EBT Card call Maryland EBT Customer Service: 1-800-997-2222
How and Where to Use the Food Assistance (Food Stamp) Benefits?
Maryland Food Supplement Program provides the benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Maryland Food Supplement Program are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Maryland Independence EBT Card. The benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food items at any of the Maryland Food Supplement Program authorized stores.
With their Independence EBT cards households can buy almost any food for human consumption from approved markets and groceries. Notable exception are: tobacco, alcohol, food supplements, meals from restaurants, and hot food for immediate consumption. For security reasons, USDA does not allow EBT cards to be used online to buy food from Internet websites.
I Need Food Stamps Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services, as per federal rules – that is food assistance benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. You can always contact local DHR Office for more information.