SNAP FAQ: What Is the Maryland Independence Card and How Can Residents Apply for Benefits?

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The Maryland Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly benefits to low-income households. SNAP is administered by the Maryland Department of Human Services and benefits are issued monthly via the Maryland Independence Card, the state’s version of the federal EBT card.

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According to the Maryland DHS, the Independence Card can only be used to purchase food and plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat. SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, vitamins and medicines and hot foods that are ready to eat. Sales tax is not charged on products purchased with SNAP benefits. 

Eligibility for Maryland’s SNAP is determined by household income and other criteria. 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 when referred to one by the local department of social services. Additionally, most students between 18 and 49 who are enrolled in school at least half the time are not eligible for SNAP.

There are several ways to apply for Maryland SNAP benefits. You can fill out an application online at myDHR. A myDHR account allows you to apply for other services, access your case details and manage your account information.

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Local social services departments can give or mail you a SNAP application when requested either in person, over the phone or by mail — or someone else may get one for you. You can also download and print the SNAP application. After submitting your application, you will either be interviewed that same day, or the local department will contact you to set up an interview.

See: SNAP Usage: Does Wendy’s Accept SNAP EBT Food Stamps?
Find: Food Stamps: Can You Use Your SNAP EBT Card at Gas Stations?

If you’re eligible for Maryland’s SNAP, you’ll receive your Maryland Independence Card no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you qualify for expedited SNAP, you may receive benefits within seven days.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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