Department of Administrative and Financial Services pivots to begin processing $450 Winter Energy Relief Payment; launches FAQ website
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) announced today that all remaining $850 inflation relief checks have been sent out to waiting Maine taxpayers, thanks to the additional funding provided through the Governor’s Emergency Winter Energy Relief Plan.
The remaining 10,200 inflation relief checks, which had been awaiting the additional funding, were sent out via US Postal Service today. Qualifying recipients for the inflation checks needed to file their 2021 Maine tax return by October 31, 2022. Those payments that remained resulted from tax returns filed near the deadline.
The original estimate of 858,000 responders assumed a 4 percent increase of tax filers but, as a result of broad encouragement and advertising over the summer, the actual increase was nearly 12 percent for a total of nearly 876,000 recipients. This unanticipated response underscored the program’s success reaching Maine residents who are most at risk; largely those not required to file a return.
In response, Governor Mills transferred an immediate $8 million in available funding for the program in November 2022 and included an additional $11.5 million in her proposed Emergency Winter Energy Relief Plan, which the Governor signed into law on January 4, 2023.
“We are pleased to be able to complete this nation-leading inflation relief program and get money into the hands of Maine people who need it,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “With the completion of this program, our office is now shifting gears to process the recently approved energy relief payments, with the goal of beginning to send those out by the end of this month.”
Maine people who have filed and have not received their inflation relief checks can check the status of their relief check on the Department of Administrative and Financial Services website at https://portal.maine.gov/refundstatus/payment.
The inflation relief payments, which began in the spring of 2022, returned more than $747 million of the state’s surplus to eligible Maine people. The Emergency Winter Energy Relief Plan will add another $398 million from the state’s surplus through additional $450 energy relief checks to help Maine people and their families stay warm, safe and secure this winter amid record high energy prices.
The Department today also announced the launch of a new FAQ website to help Maine people with the forthcoming Winter Energy Relief Payments. The website can be viewed at: www.maine.gov/energyrelief.