An estimated 858,000 Maine people are expected to benefit from one of the strongest relief programs in the nation
Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration will send the first round of $850 relief checks to Maine people beginning tomorrow, launching one of the strongest relief programs in the country.
The Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) will issue an initial 5,000 relief checks to be sent via the U.S. Postal Service tomorrow that are expected to arrive in mailboxes as early as next week. The Department will then issue an estimated 200,000 checks per week after that, with the vast majority of qualifying Maine people who have already filed their 2021 Maine tax return expected to receive their check by mid-July. Despite an initial concern from the Department of Administrative and Financial Services about a shortage of envelopes in the Department’s possession, the Treasurer’s Office has confirmed that it has and will generously provide a sufficient number of envelopes that can be used to distribute the checks.
The relief program – advanced by Governor Mills and overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature – is considered one of the strongest relief programs in the country and is expected to help an estimated 858,000 Maine people with the high costs of inflation. All told, more than half of the State’s budget surplus – $729.3 million – will be returned to Maine people via $850 direct checks, with the average Maine family receiving $1,700 in relief.
“The budgets of so many hardworking Maine people have been stretched to the brink by inflation, and while we cannot control inflation or global markets, we can make sure that Maine people have what they need to grapple with these rising costs,” said Governor Mills. “Through hard work, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to do what is right for Maine people, and, today, I am proud to say that help is on the way. I hope that this will provide at least a small measure of relief during these tough times.”
“Governor Mills directed us to deliver $850 checks into the mailbox of every Maine adult who qualifies as quickly as possible, and we’ve worked around the clock to do just that,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “We have met our goal of getting these checks out the door beginning in early June, and we will work nonstop until every qualifying Maine person has the relief they deserve. Our Department is available to answer any questions Maine people have about these checks. Help is on the way.”
“I know that Maine people are feeling the pinch of higher prices, and Governor Mills, along with the Legislature, are delivering one of the strongest relief proposals in the country to help them,” said Henry Beck, Maine State Treasurer. “My office is glad to help to see that these checks get into Maine people’s pockets as quickly as possible.”
To be eligible to receive a check, Maine people must file a Maine individual income tax return as a full-time resident and not be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return. Eligible Maine people must have a Federal adjusted gross income (FAGI) of less than: $100,000 if filing single or if married and filing separately; $150,000 if filing as head of household; or $200,000 for couples filing jointly.
In the limited instances where someone has not already filed their 2021 Maine individual income tax return, either because they are late in doing so or because their unique financial situation has not typically required them to do so, they have until October 31, 2022 to file their return and claim the $850 relief check.
The Mills Administration has also taken several other significant actions to help Maine people with increased costs, including:
- Securing a one-time bill credit of $90 for tens of thousands of low-income customers of Central Maine Power and Versant;
- Providing $800 in heating cost relief to nearly 13,000 low-income households to help pay for high energy costs;
- Providing up to $1,400 in tax relief (PDF) for eligible low- and middle-income Maine families and seniors.
Maine people with other questions about the checks can visit Maine.gov/reliefchecks or call Maine Revenue Services at (207) 624-9924. Maine people can check the status of their check at:https://portal.maine.gov/refundstatus/payment.
Additionally, for free tax help, low- and middle-income Maine people may visit www.cashmaine.org, call 2-1-1, or visit 211maine.org.