Governor says 200,000 checks will be mailed per week moving forward
Governor Janet Mills announced that the first round of $450 winter energy relief payments are being mailed to eligible Maine taxpayers today. The $450 Winter Relief Payments are part of Governor Mills’ Emergency Energy Relief Plan to help keep Maine people warm, safe, and secure this winter amid near record high energy costs.
Maine Revenue Services, a division of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), is mailing the first 5,000 relief checks today via the U.S. Postal Service. The payments are expected to arrive in mailboxes later this week. Maine Revenue Services will issue an estimated 200,000 checks per week beginning next week, with the vast majority of qualifying Maine people expected to receive their payment by the end of March.
“High energy prices have made staying warm more difficult for Maine families this winter. That’s why I proposed—and was pleased to sign—an emergency relief measure that quickly puts money back into the hands of Maine people,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Beginning next week, Maine people will start to receive their $450 relief payment to help ease the burden of increased energy costs. I thank the Legislature for approving this emergency measure and look forward to working with lawmakers to implement policies that will bring down energy costs and improve energy efficiency in the long-term.”
“With Maine people facing high energy costs, Governor Mills directed us to distribute the energy relief payments as quickly as possible, and I am pleased to say we have achieved our goal of beginning to send them before the end of January,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “We will continue to work hard to see that all the checks are sent out as quickly as possible.”
There is nothing that an individual needs to do to claim their $450 payment. Eligible recipients are those who:
- filed their 2021 Maine individual income tax return as a full-time resident of the State for tax year 2021, by October 31, 2022,
- are not claimed as a dependent on another’s return,
- and 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.
The Mills Administration has also posted a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at Maine.gov/energyrelief to help answer any questions about the energy relief payments.
In addition to the $450 payment, Governor Mills’ Winter Emergency Relief Plan also offers additional energy, heating, and housing support, including:
- $40 million to supplement 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. For details visit the MaineHousing HEAP webpage.
- $10 million to Maine Community Action Programs 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.
- $21 million to bolster the Emergency Housing Relief Fund created by Governor Mills and the Legislature in 2022 to support emergency housing in communities across Maine. Specifically, these funds will be used to extend housing supports 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.