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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

As of Oct. 1, 2008, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new name for the federal Food Stamp Program. Maryland uses the name "Food Supplement Program."

Many figures used to calculate Food Stamp benefits are revised annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal agency that administers the program. These figures are usually updated in the summer, and can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, or by calling Maryland’s Food Stamps hotline 1-800-492-5515 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Maryland figures can be found in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 07.03.17.  Benefit amounts are also available on this website.

The value in food stamps is based on the "household" income after specific deductions such as child care and shelter expenses, up to a maximum amount. These are the figures for October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013.

Household size

Maximum Monthly
Food Stamp Allotment

1 $200
2 $367
3 $526
4 $668
5 $793
6 $952
7 $1,052
8 $1,202

Each
additional
person 

+$150

 

 

 

 

Eligibility

Eligibility is based on the "Household". The Household usually means everyone who lives, buys food, and prepares food together.

Income Eligibility

There are both "gross income" and "net income" tests for eligibility. Gross income includes almost all types of income coming into the household before any deductions. Net income is the gross income minus specific allowable deductions. Details are on the U.S.D.A. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) web site.

Most households must meet both gross and net income test to be eligible. There are exceptions listed below. 

  • Households with an elderly or disabled member only have to meet the net income test.
  • Persons who are considered "categorically eligible". This includes persons who receive certain types of cash benefits, such as TCA, SSI, TEMHA, PAA, or families with children whose income is below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. "Categorically eligible" households do not have to meet the gross and net income tests.

All other households must meet both the gross income and the net income tests.

Food Stamp Income Limits for October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013

Household
Size
Gross Income Limit Net Income Limit
1 $1,211 $931
2 $1,640 $1,261
3 $2,069 $1,591
4 $2,498 $1,921
5 $2,927 $2,251
6 $3,356 $2,581
7 $3,785 $2,911
8 $4,214 $3,241

Each
additional
person

+$429 +$330

A household's first $134 per month is not counted in determining eligibility; household vehicles are not counted; there are also  medical and housing deductions.

Persons 60 and over (and their spouses) who are unable to purchase and prepare their own meals due to disability, and who live and eat with others in a household whose gross monthly combined income does not exceed 165% of the poverty level, may be considered a separate household.

Asset Eligibility

Countable resources no greater than $2,000; if your household includes a member who is 60 or older, your asset limit is $3,250. Maryland Department of Human Resources Food Stamp Program.

Not counted:

  • The home,
  • motor vehicles (if the fair market value is up to $4,650)
  • real property other than the home if it is listed for sale,
  • assets that are "not available," that is, cannot be sold or converted to cash.

Details are on the FNS web site.

No asset test is required if your households is "categorically eligible" because you receive certain other government benefits (such as SSI).Read the Regulation: 7 CFR 273.8

Apply at

Your local Department of Social Services. Link here to find your local DSS Office online or call 800-332-6347. 

Appeals
  • You can appeal any denial, termination, or reduction of benefits
  • Appeals must be filed in writing at your local Department of Social Services office.  It is best to file it in person and to get a receipt showing that you filed the appeal.
  • Appeals must be filed within 90 days of the action, or you cannot appeal.
  • If you file within 10 days of notice that benefits are being terminated or reduced, and you ask that the benefits continue until the appeal decision is made, they will continue automatically until the decision.  If you do not want benefits to continue until the decision, you must specifically request that they not continue.  If you do not appeal within 10 days, the termination or reduction will happen.
Source of Funds

United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.); Information is available on the Food and Nutrition Service's web site.

Sources of Law

Federal Law:  7 U.S.C.A. §2011 to §2036

Federal Regulations: 7 C.F.R. Parts 271 to 295; the key Parts that set out who is eligible and how the food stamp program works are Parts 273 (eligible households) and 274 (issuance and use of coupons).

Federal Policy Materials: The federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) publishes policy materials covering a wide range of issues.  Generally presented in a question and answer format, the memos may be of national or regional significance. 

State Law:  Md. Ann. Code Art. ,88A, § 1a

State Law:  State Regulations: COMAR 07.03.17.00 to 07.03.17.9999 (scroll down to "Food Stamp Program" and click it to go to the list of regulations.


Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”