The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program is referred to in Maryland as the Food Supplement Program, or FSP. You can apply for FSP online, by mail or by visiting a local Department of Social Services location. You must be interviewed and meet income guidelines to qualify.
Download the application from the Maryland Department of Human Resources website. Fill out as much information as you can about your income, resources and number of family members in your household. You don't have to complete the application entirely to submit it -- a caseworker can help you finish it at your interview. Maryland does request that you put your name, address and telephone number before submitting the application. Don't forget to sign it.
If you don't have access to the Internet, call the Maryland Department of Social Services office that governs your county. A representative will mail an application to you that day. You can mail or fax the form back to the local office. You also can reach a caseworker by calling 1-800-332-6347. Another option is to call First Call for Help for assistance. In Baltimore, dial 410-685-0525; for all other locations, dial 1-800- 492-0618.
Once you submit your application, you will receive a notice containing the date and time of your interview. If you cannot attend a face-to-face interview at a local office, ask for a phone interview instead. You still will be required to submit all requested documentation to your caseworker. Caseworkers normally will try to call you twice before considering you a no-show. Each individual human resources office might have different local procedures. Check with your county for further guidance.
The Food Supplemental Program Manual is the guide that Maryland caseworkers use to determine your eligibility for the program. Eligibility factors include income, resources and the size of your family. To be eligible for assistance, your gross income must be no more than 100 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The threshold used in your case will depend on your individual circumstances and whether there are any disabled family members in your home. To see if you might qualify for food assistance without applying, use the eligibility screening tool located on the Maryland Department of Human Resource's website.
You can also apply online on the Maryland SAIL website, part of the Department of Human Resources for Maryland. Once you complete this application, you can be considered for not only food assistance, but other social service programs as well. Click on the link at the bottom of the webpage to start a new application. You will be required to attend an interview to assess your eligibility.
Before applying, read about the applicant Rights and Responsibilities. It asserts your right to a timely application process and also explain the potential penalties for committing food stamp fraud.