Starting on Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 OFI Eligibility Specialists that would normally staff the statewide call queue will be dedicated to case processing to allow them to process the large number of applications, renewals, and changes we have recently received. This will continue every Wednesday thereafter until further notice.
We help connect Maine families to benefits and services that foster health, safety, resilience, and opportunity and help them to meet a wide variety of needs. Our office is comprised of three divisions: Eligibility Services, Child Support Services and Disability Determination Services.
Temporary Changes to Benefits
In response to COVID-19, P.L. 116-159, and P.L. 116-260, the Office for Family Independence has made a number of temporary changes to safety net programs including Food Supplement, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance, and MaineCare.
In the month of October, all SNAP households will receive the maximum benefit allowed for their household size. These supplements will be available on October 8th. Regular SNAP benefits will be issued from the 10th through the 14th of the month, as they normally are.
If you are receiving unemployment benefits you may see an income type that says “$300, TANF Other Income” on your letters from DHHS. This income does count as household income for TANF programs (TANF, PaS, HOPE), but does not count as income on any Food Supplement or MaineCare benefits.
Read our Summary of Changes (PDF) last updated September 1, 2021. This document is also available in Arabic (PDF), Chinese (PDF), French (PDF), Khmer (PDF), Somali (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Swahili (PDF), and Vietnamese (PDF).
Pandemic Emergency Assistance Payment
Through funds made available by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), on September 16, 2021 a one-time cash payment was issued to each eligible Maine child to assist with buying back-to-school supplies. To be eligible the child must be under age 18, and either:
- received a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Parents as Scholars (PaS) benefit in July 2021, or,
- received a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit and have household gross income below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in July 2021.
Funds were issued onto existing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards and can be used to purchase clothing, shoes, backpacks, books, cleaning supplies, and classroom supplies.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
If you are struggling to pay for rent and utilities, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program could help. This program helps pay rent and utility costs for eligible Maine renters. One application could cover rent you owe back to March 2020, three months of future rent, and some unpaid and current utility bills. Learn more and apply here.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps qualified homeowners and renters pay for heating costs. Benefits include help paying for fuel and emergency fuel delivery. To learn more about how to apply for HEAP, please visit Maine Housing's website here.
Property Tax Fairness Credit
Did you know that in 2020 if you were a Maine resident, paid rent or property taxes, and your income was not more than $67,000 for a married couple or $42,000 if you were single, you may be eligible for the refundable Maine Property Tax Fairness Credit? To learn more, visit https://www.maine.gov/revenue/taxes/tax-relief-credits-programs/income-tax-credits/property-tax-fairness-credit. You can also call 211 or visit 211maine.org to get help filing your Maine tax forms to claim this credit.
Register to vote
Voting is the right and responsibility of all citizens in Maine. Mainers have the opportunity to determine who will be elected to a number of important positions including State Legislature, U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, and the Presidency. Mainers can register to vote in-person before or on Election Day. Learn more about registering to vote