Public assistance in Maryland.

Public assistance is offered in Maryland to low income residents, families with children, seniors, and others who need help with paying for basic needs. The amount of resources and emergency assistance provided by the Maryland Department of Human Services and other organizations is extensive. Find information below on the various services and public programs by county that are provided across Maryland. Or dial 1-800-332-6347.

Receive free or low cost food and groceries from the Food Stamp / Supplement Program (FSP). The service can help low-income households pay for the food they need for their families to ensure good health. The Maryland Food Supplement Program can also be referred to by its federal government name, which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It is a publicly funded program. After applying and if you are found to be qualified, the Maryland Department of Human Services will issue clients a debit type card which is known as the Electronic Benefits Transfer System (EBT). You will need to use this card when buying food in your local supermarket or grocery store.

Maryland Office Of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) runs a number of energy and electric bill assistance programs for low income residents. Public programs can provide everything from grants and cash assistance to pay bills, and also energy conservation services such as weatherization.




Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) – This statewide program provides emergency financial assistance with paying for home heating bills and other expenses. For example, limited amounts of assistance and support is available to replace items like inefficient furnaces or broken heating systems. Dial 1-800-352-1446, or find grants from Maryland MEAP.

Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) is run by the Maryland Department of Human Resources. This service can help customers with paying their electric or heating bills. Grants and cash assistance is offered for active customers who are struggling or aid is offered for people who are currently without service due to a disconnection. There are two main components, including financial help to pay past due or current electric bills as well as energy efficiency and conservation measures to reduce future electric bills.





Energy conservation, specifically Weatherization, is now run by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Dial 1800-638-7781. Free home weatherization services are offered to eligible low income individuals and families from this public resource. Services such as plastic window covering, weather stripping, caulking, insulation, etc. are all offered to help make your apartment or home more fuel efficient and comfortable at no cost to clients. These improvements will also help you save money on heating and cooling bills.

Disconnection protection may be offered by the Utility Service Protection Program (USPP). This program may be able to protect low-income individuals and families from utility shut offs. MEAP eligible households, as referenced above, may be able to enter into a year-round payment plan with their utility company. What this amounts to is the customer entering into an equal monthly payment plan to help them pay their bills. This plan and the amount that a customer will need to pay is based on the estimated cost of the customer's average annual utility usage minus the MEAP benefit, and that will be the customer’s monthly obligation.

Temporary Cash Assistance is part of the Maryland Family Investment Program, and there are 3 options. Grants and cash assistance can be offered to needy families with dependent children who have no other resources available to them. The TCA program can provide emergency public assistance for paying bills, and will offer advice and information to prepare program participants for independence through job training and help finding a job. There is also financial help for the disabled that is one of the state’s cash assistance programs.

Some lower income Maryland families which need only short-term financial assistance may receive a welfare avoidance grant equivalent to three months of TCA benefits. The direct cash grant is provided as a one-time lump sum payment to clients, and the funds are used to pay for basic needs and expenses. Find more details on cash assistance in Maryland.

Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program - Federal and state government funds are used to ensure that all children, teenagers, and babies have access to health and dental insurance. The Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program (MCHIP) gives full health benefits for currently uninsured children up to age 19. It is one of the most effective ways to get financial assistance for medical bills and health care needs.

Public medical care is also offered for pregnant women of any age who meet the states income guidelines. Managed Care Organizations and other hospitals and doctors offer care. Apply at your local department of social services, hospital, or WIC Centers, or dial 1-800-456-8900.




Maryland Pharmacy Assistance Program – Prescription medications and other health care is offered to help qualified Maryland residents, regardless of age, get needed prescription drugs and medical care. Services are offered for residents who are not eligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program as indicated above. Note that eligibility is not limited to the disabled and elderly.

Medical Assistance, or Medicaid, is a federal government funded program that pays the medical bills and debts of certain qualified low-income patients. The program is run by the state. However it pays medical bills using public Federal and State government funds.

Burial and Funeral Assistance Program can help with paying the funeral expenses of deceased recipients of Family Investment programs when their families cannot afford to pay the burial or funeral costs on their own. The Maryland Department of Human Services program provides a cash grant of up to $650 when funeral expenses total less than $1500. The cost of grave digging, burial plots, vaults, and other expenses such as burial clothing contributed by friends or family members may be excluded when counting funeral expenses.

Subsidies for paying child care are offered to low income families in Maryland that are working or in school. Assistance may also be offered for an individual in a job training session. The state will pay for a portion of your day or child care costs provided all of the terms and conditions of this public assistance program are met by the applicant. Learn more on Maryland child care vouchers.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary and SLIMB (Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary), which are also known as the Medicare Buy-In Program, may be able to protect low-income Medicare beneficiaries from the increasing costs required to pay for and receive Medicare coverage. Assistance can be offered for a number of out-of-pocket cost sharing expenses (deductibles and co--payments) by the Maryland Department of Human Services. The buy-In Program connects the two largest public health care and insurance programs in the country. So this Maryland service works with both Medicaid as well as Medicare. The government funded Medicaid service pays for all or part of the deductible amounts and Medicare premium for individuals who are financially eligible for assistance. Specifically the program can help with Medicare Part B premiums and it can provide other cost-sharing amounts.





Maryland disability programs are offered primarily from the public Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP). This resource was formerly called TEMHA. Financial assistance and support is available to help the disabled, low-income Marylanders who do not have access to other resources. TDAP can help people obtain cash, housing, rent, and medical assistance. The program is funded mostly through the State of Maryland to provide help with bills and basic needs to individuals without dependent children.

Additional public aid and government assistance

Maryland residents can turn to any of the resources listed above. In addition to those programs, most counties and cities offer additional services to low income and unemployed families.

Anne Arundel County


Montgomery County

Prince George County


By Jon McNamara

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