Governor Janet Mills of Maine has announced the first round of winter energy relief payments, worth $450 each, are being mailed to eligible taxpayers in the state. The payments, which are part of Governor Mills’ Emergency Energy Relief Plan, aim to help residents receive relief payments to cope with near-record high energy costs this winter.
Maine Revenue Services will begin mailing 5,000 checks this week, with an estimated 200,000 checks being mailed per week beginning next week. The vast majority of eligible residents are expected to receive their relief payments by the end of March.
Who qualifies for the $450 Energy Relief Payments?
To qualify for the payment, residents must have filed their 2021 Maine individual income tax return, be a full-time resident of the state, not be claimed as a dependent on another’s return, and have a Federal adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 (single or married filing separately), $150,000 (filing as head of household), or $200,000 (filing jointly).
Governor Mills’ Winter Emergency Relief Plan offers more than just the $450 relief payments. It also provides support for energy, heating, and housing including:
- $40 million to improve the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program, which will provide an average benefit of $1,600 to $2,200 to eligible individuals
- $10 million has been allocated to Maine Community Action Programs to provide emergency fuel assistance to prevent people from running out of heating fuel with around 12,500 homes expected to receive up to $800 in emergency funds
- $21 million has been set aside to support the Emergency Housing Relief Fund, which will be used to extend housing support to individuals and families staying temporarily in hotels, expand support for shelters and efforts to help the homeless, and establish warming centers to ensure people have a safe and warm place during the winter months.
Kirsten Figueroa, the Commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, stated that due to high energy costs affecting Maine residents, Governor Mills directed them to distribute energy relief payments quickly. Figueroa is happy to report that they have succeeded in starting to send out the payments by the end of January. She adds that they will continue to work diligently to get all the checks sent out as soon as possible.