Maine Earned Income Tax Credit #
Maine has officially become the 22nd state with a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — leaving behind Delaware, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia as the only six states that offer credit with no refundable portion.
For years, Maine’s EITC remains one of the smallest in the nation at 5 percent. The recent EITC expansion increased the state EITC from 5 percent to 12 percent of the federal refund for earners with children.
The new law also addresses a disparity that provided childless adults a disproportionately small federal credit by increasing the state match from 5 percent to 25 percent.
Maine Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) #
In Maine, the aim of TANF is to provide temporary cash assistance to eligible low-income families with children while they work toward self-sufficiency. Maine offers the poorest families a maximum of $610 per month for a family of three.
Apart from cash aid, benefits include child care and transportation assistance, “employment support”, among others. The law, however, allows families to receive TANF benefits for a total of 60 months only.
Families who are otherwise eligible for the TANF program who seek one-time, short-term assistance while searching for a job may apply for Alternative Aid Assistance instead of TANF.
Maine Food Supplement Program #
Maine Food Supplement Program aims to help low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to buy an adequate supply of nutritious food.
Those who are on welfare, unemployed and homeless are also eligible. Children who are eligible to receive free or reduced price meals may receive P-EBT benefits during the school year.
How do I apply for food stamps in Maine?
To receive food supplement benefits, go to My Maine Connection, the DHHS website where you can screen for eligibility and apply for public benefit programs online, including TANF and child care subsidy.
MaineCare — formerly known as Medicaid, is a health care coverage for eligible Mainers who couldn’t afford to pay for medical care. MaineCare pays all of the cost for many services. For some services, you may need to co-pay for part of the cost.
MaineCare covers essential health care needs, including visits to your doctor, prescription drugs, treatment for mental health needs and substance abuse disorder, surgery, emergency care, and more.
As Maine has expanded its Medicaid, eligibility now includes children ages 6-18, pregnant women, and adults up to age 64 with family income up to 138% of FPL.
How do I apply for MaineCare for my child?
To see if you or your child is eligible for MaineCare, go to My Maine Connection or call 1-855-797-4357 if you prefer to enroll by phone.
How long does it take to get approved for MaineCare?
It usually takes DHHS a couple weeks to make a decision. If it takes them longer than 45 days, you may be able to get temporary coverage.
Maine Child Care Subsidy Program #
Maine Child Care Subsidy Program (also known as the Voucher Program) provides childcare subsidy for income-eligible Maine families who need help paying for child care.
The subsidy amount varies based on the your gross monthly income, family size, and type and cost of care AND since it is a subsidy, you may be required to pay for some of the child care costs.
In general, families with gross family income at or below 272% of the federal poverty level or 85% of the State Median Income (SMI) are eligible to apply for subsidy.
How do I apply for child care assistance in Maine?
Complete a signed Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) application along with a copy of all required documentation and return it to the address stated in the application.
Maine Section 8 Program #
Maine’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to income-eligible tenants by subsidizing a portion of their monthly rents and paying it directly to their landlords.
Eligible participants are free to choose any housing of their choice, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments and are expected to pay no more than 30% of their income for rent.
To apply for Housing Choice Voucher Program, check the link provided below to see if the county you live in is currently open and accepting new applications.
Apply online at
For questions or assistance, call
COVID-19 Rental Relief Program #
The COVID-19 Rent Relief Program is for renters who cannot afford to pay their rent due to circumstances related to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Under the program, each household that meets income eligibility requirements may receive a payment of up to $1,000 in rental assistance paid directly to the landlord for a maximum of three months.
The benefit is retroactive, so you may apply for past months and the current month at the same time but not for a future month.
How do I apply for the new COVID-19 Rental Relief Program in Maine?
Go to https://mecap.org/rent and select the county in which you reside and fill out the application. Be prepared to receive follow-up emails from your local Community Action Agency to complete your application.
Maine Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) #
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance to low income households for their energy bills — primarily to help pay winter home heating bills for those who qualify.
LIHEAP is targeted to low and very low income Maine homeowners and renters with incomes that fall within the income eligibility guidelines or 60% of the state area median income, whichever is less.
How do I apply for LIHEAP in Maine?
Applications for LIHEAP are accepted from August 15 through April 30 of each year. To apply, contact the Community Action Agency that serves your county.
Maine Unemployment Insurance #
Unemployment Insurance is a safety net for those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. It offers temporary financial assistance to thousands of Maine’s unemployed by providing weekly cash benefits to those who qualify.
If you meet the eligibility requirements of the law, you’re entitled to supplemental income while you are looking for a new job, up to a maximum of $445 per week.
How do I apply for unemployment in Maine?
To file a new claim, click here or if you’ve filed a new claim or reopened a claim in the past two weeks, click here. If you wish to file by phone, call the Unemployment Claims Center at 1-800-593-7660.
State of Maine Grant Program #
The State of Maine Grant Program is a need-based program that provides grants to Maine undergraduate students who complete the FAFSA no later than the May 1 deadline.
Because this is a need-based grant, your expected family contribution (EFC) must not exceed the maximum EFC set in any given year. The maximum EFC for the 2020–2021 academic year is 7,000.
The award amount is up to $1,500 per year for a full-time student. If you are enrolled less than full-time, you may be eligible for a pro-rated amount. However, funds are limited so you are encouraged to apply early.