Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Information

From May 28, 2020, Amazon, Shoprite, and Walmart have been accepting SNAP EBT payments for online orders (excluding delivery fees). View additional information here: https://dhs.maryland.gov/documents/COVID-19/SNAP%20Online%20%20%205_28_20.pdf

Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to youso if anyone asks you to share your Medicare Number or pay for access to the vaccine, you can bet it’s a scam. Learn more at https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/help-fight-medicare-fraud.

Maryland is entering all residents who get at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose into a lottery, sometimes called the “Shottery”.

Maryland is entering all residents who get at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose into a lottery, sometimes called the “Shottery”.

40 people will receive winnings of $40,000 each (one winner a day from May 25, 2021 through July 3, 2021).  On July 4, the 41st and final winner will get $400,000.

If you win the Shottery, will you lose your government benefits?

Here are the key facts:

  1. You almost certainly won’t win the Shottery anyway.
  2. If you did win, you could keep (or quickly re-start) benefits (some would require you to take certain actions):
    • For SSDI – Your benefit would continue without any action.
    • For Medicare – Your benefit would continue without any action.
    • For SSI – Your SSI payment would pause the month you got the Shottery payment, but could be re-started the next month if you took certain actions.  Your Medical Assistance (Medicaid) would continue without stopping at all, without any action.
    • For Section 8 and other rental assistance funded by HUD – Your rental assistance would continue.  Your rent would not increase if you took certain actions.
    • For SNAP (Food Stamps) – Your SNAP would stop as soon as you got the Shottery payment, but you could reapply and get it back as soon as you took certain actions
  3. If you wanted to keep SSI, Medical Assistance or SNAP (Food Stamps) – or avoid having your rent increase in a HUD program – without taking any of the actions described below, you could simply refuse the Shottery payment.
  4. If you win the Shottery and get government benefits, Accessible Resources for Independence (ARI) will give you FREE BENEFITS COUNSELING to ensure you can protect your government benefits.

Details:

Your odds of winning the Shottery are extremely low – less than 1 in 88,000.  The chance you’ll be struck by lightning is 6 times greater.

SSDI and Medicare are not affected by lottery winnings.  You could win the Shottery and keep full SSDI and Medicare whether you saved or spent the Shottery payment.

SSI would pause the month you got the Shottery payment because your income would be too high that month, but your Medical Assistance (Medicaid) would continue that month anyway.  To get your SSI payment back the next month and continue your Medical Assistance, you could do any of the following BY THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH YOU GOT THE SHOTTERY PAYMENT:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment
  4. Invest the Shottery payment into the home you live in (such as by paying off part of the mortgage)

Section 8 and other rental assistance funded by HUD are not directly affected by Shottery payments.  You could get a Shottery payment and still keep rental assistance.  If you kept some or all of the payment, your rent would increase by 30% of the interest or dividends you earned on the Shottery payment.  To avoid having your rent increase,  you could do any of the following as soon as possible:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment

SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits would stop as soon as you got a Shottery payment.  You could reapply for SNAP as soon as you were eligible again.  To be eligible again, you could do any of the following:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment
  4. Invest the Shottery payment into the home you live in (such as by paying off part of the mortgage)

Written by Michael Dalto, Maryland Department of Disabilities.

COVID-19 Resources and Information

Find out the latest info on reopening your community.

Maryland State

https://governor.maryland.gov/recovery/

Prince George’s County

Beginning Monday, May 17 at 5:01 p.m., all indoor and outdoor venues in Prince George’s County may resume normal operations. Face masks are still required for all indoor venues, while on public transportation, and at crowded outdoor venues including concert venues and ticketed sporting events. The County will consider future changes to mask requirements based on key COVID-19 metrics and vaccination rates among County residents.

https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3416/County-Closures-Updates

More information:

Montgomery County:

At 60 percent of the population receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine:

  • gathering limits increase to 250 people indoors and no limit outdoors.
  • most businesses move to 75 percent capacity.
  • camps can increase to gathering limits of 250 people indoors with no capacity limit outdoors and may gathering limits increase to 250 people indoors and no limit outdoors.

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/reopening/expanded-reopening.html

Find out where and how to get the vaccine, get tested, and info on funeral assistance if you have a loved one who dies from COVID-19.

Find out about free and reduced-cost internet and broadband services available to you.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), an FCC program, will provide low-income households, during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a temporary $50-per-month discount on home internet service. The EBB discount should cover the entire monthly cost of home broadband. The benefit will last until federal funding runs out or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares the pandemic is over.

https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

Comcast Internet Essentials

https://internetessentials.com/

Free laptops for MCPS families

https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/coronavirus/chromebooks.aspx

Call: 240-740-3000 | Spanish Hotline: 240-740-2845

Emergency rental assistance is available to renters during COVID-19.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) offers relief to landlords on behalf of renters and tenants experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).  This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA0202 awarded to Prince George’s County, MD Government by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3703/Emergency-Rental-Assistance-Program

Montgomery County COVID-19 Rent Relief

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Program/SNHS/rent-relief.html

General Rent Relief

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS/RightNav/COVID19Applications.html#rap

Emergency food support resources are available during COVID-19.

Prince George’s 

The Prince George’s County Food Equity Council is a local food policy council that works to develop and share food assistance resources.

Community Food Pantries & Provider Sites

SNAP Assistance & P-EBT Resources

Online SNAP Grocery Orders:

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

Montgomery County:

If you’re in need of mental health services and support, help is available.

Prince George’s

211 Maryland- 211 Maryland is a call and text-based resources hotline providing zip-code-based mental health and substance use resources.

Call 211, press 1

Text your zip code to 898-211

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Prince George’s County

NAMI is a national organization to raise awareness and provide support and education to people struggling with mental illness.

Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

https://namipgc.org/

Montgomery County

https://namimc.org/

Maryland is entering all residents who get at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose into a lottery, sometimes called the “Shottery”.

Maryland is entering all residents who get at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose into a lottery, sometimes called the “Shottery”.

40 people will receive winnings of $40,000 each (one winner a day from May 25, 2021 through July 3, 2021).  On July 4, the 41st and final winner will get $400,000.

If you win the Shottery, will you lose your government benefits?

Here are the key facts:

  1. You almost certainly won’t win the Shottery anyway.
  2. If you did win, you could keep (or quickly re-start) benefits (some would require you to take certain actions):
    • For SSDI – Your benefit would continue without any action.
    • For Medicare – Your benefit would continue without any action.
    • For SSI – Your SSI payment would pause the month you got the Shottery payment, but could be re-started the next month if you took certain actions.  Your Medical Assistance (Medicaid) would continue without stopping at all, without any action.
    • For Section 8 and other rental assistance funded by HUD – Your rental assistance would continue.  Your rent would not increase if you took certain actions.
    • For SNAP (Food Stamps) – Your SNAP would stop as soon as you got the Shottery payment, but you could reapply and get it back as soon as you took certain actions
  3. If you wanted to keep SSI, Medical Assistance or SNAP (Food Stamps) – or avoid having your rent increase in a HUD program – without taking any of the actions described below, you could simply refuse the Shottery payment.
  4. If you win the Shottery and get government benefits, Accessible Resources for Independence (ARI) will give you FREE BENEFITS COUNSELING to ensure you can protect your government benefits.

Details:

Your odds of winning the Shottery are extremely low – less than 1 in 88,000.  The chance you’ll be struck by lightning is 6 times greater.

SSDI and Medicare are not affected by lottery winnings.  You could win the Shottery and keep full SSDI and Medicare whether you saved or spent the Shottery payment.

SSI would pause the month you got the Shottery payment because your income would be too high that month, but your Medical Assistance (Medicaid) would continue that month anyway.  To get your SSI payment back the next month and continue your Medical Assistance, you could do any of the following BY THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH YOU GOT THE SHOTTERY PAYMENT:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment
  4. Invest the Shottery payment into the home you live in (such as by paying off part of the mortgage)

Section 8 and other rental assistance funded by HUD are not directly affected by Shottery payments.  You could get a Shottery payment and still keep rental assistance.  If you kept some or all of the payment, your rent would increase by 30% of the interest or dividends you earned on the Shottery payment.  To avoid having your rent increase,  you could do any of the following as soon as possible:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment

SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits would stop as soon as you got a Shottery payment.  You could reapply for SNAP as soon as you were eligible again.  To be eligible again, you could do any of the following:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment
  4. Invest the Shottery payment into the home you live in (such as by paying off part of the mortgage)

Written by Michael Dalto, Maryland Department of Disabilities.

Supports Planning

Currently, Independence Now Supports Planning services are available in Montgomery County.

Supports Planning is Case Management for Medicaid beneficiaries who have been found medically and financially eligible for one of several Maryland Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports programs including:

Home and Community-Based Options Waiver

Community Personal Assistance Services (CPAS)

Community First Choice Program (CFC)

If you have Medicaid call the Montgomery County  Health Department Aging and Disability Department at 240-777-3000 to request an assessment. A State Nurse will visit and conduct an assessment of your support needs.

The State Nurse who conducts the assessment will provide you with a list of Support Planning Agencies and their phone numbers.  You have 21 days to reach out to the Support Planning Agencies to select the Agency of your choice. Don’t worry – if you forget to do this, the computer system will randomly assign you to a Support Planning Agency.

Supports Planners work with you and other individuals important to you, such as family members, to develop a Plan of Service specific to your support needs and preferences.  Supports Planners assist in navigating systems, identifying community resources, and selecting Providers who will deliver your supports and services. Once enrolled in one of the programs, Supports Planners continue to work with you to ensure you receive the services you have selected and that you are satisfied with those services.  Supports Planners assist you in making changes to your services as needed.

Our role is to assist you in identifying Providers and to assist in coordinating your supports and services. We do not provide direct services.

We can assist you in identifying housing options and to enroll in housing waiting lists but we do not have housing.

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