Gov. Janet Mills announced Monday that the first round of $450 winter energy relief payments to Maine residents are in the mail.
The Legislature approved the relief checks as part of an assistance package last month.
The package calls for nearly $400 million to be used to provide $450 payments to an estimated 880,000 residents. It provides an additional $40 million to bolster the federal heating assistance program that’s administered through community action partnerships.
It also includes $10 million for emergency fuel assistance and $21 million to bolster an emergency relief housing fund to help people experiencing homelessness.
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Mills said Maine Revenue Services is mailing the first 5,000 relief checks Monday, and they are expected to arrive in residents' mailboxes later this week. An estimated 200,000 checks will be issued per week beginning next week, with most 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,” Mills said. “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.”
The qualifications for the heating relief checks are the same as when Mills sent $850 inflation relief checks last summer. According to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, the qualifications are based on Maine 2021 income tax returns.
If you filed as an individual and made less than $100,000, filed as a head of a household and made less than $150,000 or filed as a married couple and made less than $200,000, you qualify for the payments.
In addition to the $450 payments, Mills' winter relief plan includes $40 million to supplement the federal low-income Home Energy Assistant Program, $10 million to Maine Community Action Programs for emergency fuel assistance and $21 million to bolster the Emergency Housing Relief Fund created in 2022.
The state has also created a guide to Frequently Asked Questions at Maine.gov/energyrelief to help answer any questions residents might have about the energy relief payments.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.