FAQs — Winter Energy Relief Payments

What are the Winter Energy Relief Payments?

The Winter Energy Relief Payments are $450 direct checks to eligible Maine individuals. It’s the fastest, most direct way to get help to Maine people by putting money back into their pockets to help with high energy prices this winter. These payments are part of a larger Emergency Winter Energy Relief Plan proposed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature as an emergency measure. The $450 checks will be sent to an estimated 880,000 eligible Maine individuals.

Who is eligible?

An estimated 880,000 eligible Maine individuals will receive these payments. To be eligible, individuals must have:

  • Filed, by October 31, 2022, a Maine income tax return as a full-year resident of the State for tax year 2021;
  • Reported a federal adjusted income (FAGI) for the tax year 2021 of less than:
    • $200,000 for individuals filing a married joint return or surviving spouses permitted to file a joint return;
    • $150,000 for an individual filing as a head of household;
    • $100,000 for a single individual or a married individual filing a separate return; and

May not be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return for the tax year.

What do I need to do to receive a $450 payment?

There is nothing you need to do. Your eligibility status will be automatically determined based on the Maine 2021 individual income tax return that you filed by October 31, 2022.

If I received a pandemic relief check for $850, will I automatically be eligible for this $450 payment?

Yes. If you received an $850 payment, you will receive a $450 check, so long as you did not amend your 2021 tax return after receiving your $850 payment and in doing so, fall outside of the eligibility criteria.

Are both married joint filers eligible for a $450 payment?

Yes. If two individuals filed a joint 2021 Maine individual income tax return and their combined federal adjusted income (FAGI) was less than $200,000, each spouse will receive a $450 payment. Individuals who can be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return for the tax year are not eligible for a payment.

When will I receive my $450 payment?

The Winter Energy Relief Payments will be mailed to eligible individuals beginning at the end of January, 2023. All payments are expected to be mailed by March 31, 2023.

You can check the status of your energy relief payment here.

Please do not call Maine Revenue Services information line to check the status of your $450 check. MRS phone capacity needs to be reserved to answer questions related to the tax filing season.

How will I receive my $450 payment?

Eligible individuals do not need to take any action to receive the payment. Winter Energy Relief Payments will be mailed via U.S. Postal Service to the address provided on your 2021 Maine Individual income tax return or as updated with Maine Revenue Services since the filing of that return and will be redirected to any forwarding addresses filed with the U.S. Postal Service.

If you would like to update the address on record with Maine Revenue Services, please submit in writing: the date of request, as well as your name (printed), social security number, signature, and proof of the new address (such as an updated photo ID, a utility bill, lease, etc.).

Send the request via email to relief.payment@maine.gov or via regular mail to:

Maine Revenue Services
PO Box 9107
Augusta, ME 04332-9107

Please do not call Maine Revenue Services information line to update your address. MRS phone capacity needs to be reserved to answer questions related to the tax filing season.

You can check the status of your energy relief payment here.

My mailing address changed after I filed my income tax return. Will my payment be forwarded to my new address?

Yes. Your Winter Energy Relief Payment will be mailed via U.S. Postal Service to the address provided on your 2021 Maine individual income tax return or as updated with Maine Revenue Services since the filing of that return and will be redirected to any forwarding address filed with the U.S. Postal Service.

If you would like to update the address on record with Maine Revenue Services, please submit in writing: the date of request, as well as your name (printed), social security number, signature, and proof of the new address (such as an updated photo ID, a utility bill, lease, etc.).

Send the request via email to relief.payment@maine.gov or via regular mail to:

Maine Revenue Services
PO Box 9107
Augusta, ME 04332-9107

Please do not call Maine Revenue Services information line to update your address. MRS phone capacity needs to be reserved to answer questions related to the tax filing season.

Is the Winter Energy Relief Payment an advance on my income tax return or property tax rebates?

No. The Winter Energy Relief Payment is not an advance on your individual income tax return or a property tax rebate.

Are the Winter Energy Relief Payments subject to offset for other debts I owe? If I owe back taxes, will the State keep my Winter Energy Relief Payment?

No. The Winter Energy Relief Payments are not subject to offset against debts owed to Maine Revenue Services or to any other state agency.

Are the Winter Energy Relief Payments subject to individual income tax?

No. The Winter Energy Relief Payment program is state tax exempt. It was designed by the Mills Administration with the intention of conforming to the appropriate federal tax codes and to not be subject to federal income tax. Some exceptions apply, and taxpayers should consult their tax professional.

A $450 check was sent to my recently deceased family member. Is this an error? Can the check be cashed?

Eligibility for the Winter Energy Relief Payment is based upon the 2021 Maine individual income tax return. If a check was issued to a now deceased individual, then it was because that person was alive for some or all of 2021 and met all other eligibility criteria. That check may be considered an asset of the deceased and handled in accordance with the deceased’s estate.

If you would prefer, you may return the check to Maine Revenue Services at the address below. Please include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

Maine Revenue Services
PO Box 1060
Augusta, ME 04332-1060

I believe I was eligible for a Winter Energy Relief Payment, but I haven’t received one. What do I do?

Checks were automatically sent to eligible individuals using the address on file with Maine Revenue Services or as updated with Maine Revenue Services since the filing of that return and will be redirected to any forwarding addresses filed with the U.S. Postal Service.

The Winter Energy Relief Payments will be mailed to eligible individuals beginning at the end of January. All payments are expected to be mailed by March 31, 2023.

You can check the status of your energy relief payment here.

If, after March 31, 2023 you still have not received your payment, contact MRS via email at relief.payment@maine.gov or via regular mail to:

Maine Revenue Services
PO Box 9107
Augusta, ME 04332-9107

Please do not call Maine Revenue Services information line to check the status of your $450 check. MRS phone capacity needs to be reserved to answer questions related to the tax filing season.

Do I need to file a 2022 tax return to be eligible for a Winter Energy Relief Payment?

No. The new Winter Energy Relief Payment does not require Maine taxpayers to file a 2022 return. Eligibility for the Winter Energy Relief Payment is based on your previously filed 2021 Maine individual income tax return filed by October 31, 2022.

However, there are many benefits for Maine residents that may be claimed by filing a 2022 tax return, including:

  • The Property Tax Fairness Credit available to certain Maine resident property owners and renters with incomes of less than $68,000 who pay more than 4% of their household income in property taxes or rent equivalent. The credit is refundable up to $1,000 if you (or your spouse if married filing jointly) are under 65, or refundable up to $1,500 if you (or your spouse if married filing jointly) are over 65.
  • The Sales Tax Fairness Credit available to certain Maine residents with incomes of less than $53,700. The credit is refundable up to $235, depending on the number of qualifying children and dependents.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit of 25% for taxpayers with a qualifying dependent and 50% for those without a qualifying dependent.
  • New Student Loan Repayment Credit that provides up to $2,500 of refundable credit to eligible taxpayers who paid student loans during 2022.
What other Winter Energy relief is available?

The Winter Energy Emergency Relief Plan, which includes the Winter Energy Relief Payments, is designed to deliver multiple avenues of assistance to eligible Maine households. In addition to a $450 payment, you may be eligible for these programs:

  • The Heating Energy Assistance Program Supplement will double the federal benefit, providing an additional $800 - $1,100 to the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program, administered by MaineHousing as HEAP, for an average benefit total of $1,600 - $2,200. The program pays money directly to recipients’ fuel vendors throughout the season. Those who received heating assistance last year through the HEAP program will be approved for the additional supplemental amount, as well as new applicants when they apply and are approved for heating assistance during this program year. For details visit the MaineHousing HEAP webpage. For additional assistance, also visit the Emergency Crisis Intervention Program webpage.
  • The Governor’s plan sends $10 million to Maine Community Action Partnerships to help them deliver emergency fuel assistance to prevent people and families from running out of heating fuel and experiencing a heating crisis. With this supplemental funding, it is estimated that 12,500 homes may be eligible for up to $800 in emergency funds to avert a heating crisis.
  • The Governor has also added $15 million to bolster the Emergency Housing Relief Fund created by Governor Mills and the Legislature earlier this year to support emergency housing in communities across Maine. Specifically, these funds will be used to extend housing supports between December and April to individuals and families now residing temporarily in hotels; expand support for shelters and other efforts to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness; and help establish warming centers in communities around Maine to ensure people and families have a safe, warm place in the cold months ahead.

Resources to help Maine people and families take action to save money, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and find heating assistance if needed can be found in the Governor’s Energy Office’s updated Winter Heating Guide.

I received my $450 Winter Energy Relief Payment, but it was lost, stolen, or destroyed. How can I get a new one?

Contact Maine Revenue Services at 207-624-9924 to begin the process of reissuing payment. The reissue process can take up to 4-6 weeks.