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Maine’s Surplus Funds Put to Good Use: Legislators Approve Emergency Relief Package to Assist Those in Need

The Maine Legislature has approved a financial assistance package to provide relief to residents struggling with high winter heating costs. The package, which was signed by Governor Mills, includes several components to address the needs of those in need of assistance, according to News Center Maine on January 4, 2023.

First, the package includes nearly $400 million for heating relief checks of $450 for an estimated 880,000 residents. This will provide direct financial assistance to those struggling to pay their heating bills. To qualify for these payments, individuals must have made less than $100,000 in 2021; heads of households must have made less than $150,000; and married couples must have made less than $200,000.

Based on a report by NECN on January 6, 2023, in addition to the heating relief checks, the package also includes $40 million to bolster the federal heating assistance program, which is administered through community action partnerships. This funding will help to ensure that even more residents in need are able to receive assistance with their heating costs.

The package also includes $10 million for emergency fuel assistance and $21 million to bolster an emergency housing fund for those experiencing homelessness. These funds will provide assistance to those in need of emergency assistance with fuel or housing, according to NECN.

The first heating relief checks will be mailed out by the end of the month, with all payments expected to be mailed by the end of March. The package was passed with a two-thirds majority to be enacted as emergency legislation and is funded by a surplus. This will allow the state to quickly provide assistance to those in need.

 

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