Help for Single Mothers in MAINE

Maine, ME

Paying for bills, feeding the kids and keeping a safe “roof over the head” — these are just a few of the challenges single mothers are forced to deal with alone. In Maine, the state makes every possible efforts to give these families a better chance at self-sufficiency.

Maine Earned Income Tax Credit #

Maine has officially become the 22nd state with a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), leaving behind Hawaii, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah 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 12 percent. The recent EITC expansion increased the state EITC from 12 percent to 25 percent for earners with children.

How much is Maine Earned Income Credit?

  • NO. OF CHILD Maximum EIC
  • 0 $150
  • 1 $998
  • 2 $1,651
  • 3 or more $1,857

The new law also addresses a disparity that provided childless adults a disproportionately small federal credit by increasing the state match from 25 percent to 50 percent.

How do I claim the Maine EIC?

To claim the credit, file Form 1040ME, Schedule A, and the Worksheet for Earned Income Tax Credit. Maine tax forms are available here.

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.

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.

How much TANF can I get in Maine?

Maine offers the poorest families a maximum of $628 per month for a family of three. In addition to cash aid, eligible families may also get a housing supplement of up to $300 per month.

Maine Parents as Scholars (PaS) #

Parents as Scholars (PaS) is a TANF program that helps low-income parents who are enrolled in two or four-year college studies with:

  • up to $3,500 for tuition costs per academic year,
  • monthly cash benefits equal to TANF cash benefits, and
  • support services including child-care, transportation reimbursement, car repairs, book and supplies.

Parents as Scholars participants must be enrolled for 12 credits each semester, spend at least 20 hours per week in the program and maintain a GPA of 2.0.

Parents may apply for the PaS Program at the time of application for TANF, or any time while receiving TANF benefits.

Higher Opportunity for Pathways to Employment (HOPE) #

Another program offered by DHHS to assist low-income Maine families pursue training and education beyond high school is the Higher Opportunity for Pathways to Employment or the HOPE Program.

Whether you are seeking a short-term training certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor's degree, the HOPE Program has the tools and resources to help you.

The HOPE and PaS Programs offer support in covering many of the costs related to training and education — up to $6,000 for tuition costs per academic year.

Along with financial support, a core component of both the HOPE and PaS programs is Pathway Navigator services provided by Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG).

Your JMG Pathway Navigator will help you problem-solve both academic and personal obstacles that may get in your way as you pursue your credential.

More information about the Pathway Navigator program is available on the JMG website or call (207) 620-7180.

Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

Maine SNAP aims to help low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to buy an adequate supply of nutritious food.

Most families in Maine with gross income up to 185% of the federal poverty level qualify for food assistance. Those who are on welfare, unemployed and homeless are also eligible.

Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) can receive SNAP for only 3 months in a 3-year period if they do not meet certain work requirements.

What is the income limit for SNAP in Maine?

Family Size 100% 185%
1 $1,215 $2,248
2 $1,643 $3,040
3 $2,072 $3,833
4 $2,500 $4,625
5 $2,928 $5,418
6 $3,357 $6,210
7 $3,785 $7,003
8 $4,213 $7,795

Gross income limit applies to most households, except those in which at least one person is 60 years of age or older, or receives disability income.

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.

Maine Free School Lunch Program #

Maine's National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally-subsidized meal program that provides free or discounted school meals to eligible children from families with incomes that fall below certain “poverty guidelines”.

Before the pandemic, Maine students were eligible for free or reduced breakfasts and lunches if their household income is 130% (free) or 180% (reduced) of the federal poverty guidelines.

For two years during the pandemic, federal waivers allowed every Maine student to receive free school meals, regardless of family income. Such program was sunsetted in 2022.

Are school lunches still free in Maine?

Yes, free meals will continue for all students in Maine as federal funding for the pandemic-era program ends. In fact, Maine public schools are now required to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of how much money their family makes.

MaineCare #

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.

Who is eligible for MaineCare?

As Maine has expanded its Medicaid, eligibility now includes children ages 0-18, pregnant women, and adults up to age 64 with family income up to 138% of FPL. Children and pregnant women are eligible at higher income levels.

MaineCare 162% 214% 138%
1 $23,620 $31,200 $20,120
2 $31,950 $42,200 $27,210
3 $40,270 $53,200 $34,310
4 $48,600 $64,200 $41,400
5 $56,930 $75,200 $48,490
6 $65,250 $86,200 $55,590
7 $73,580 $97,200 $62,680
8 $81,910 $108,200 $69,770

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

How do I apply for MaineCare for my child?

To see if you or your child is eligible for MaineCare, go to 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 Cub Care #

Cub Care is the name for Maine’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides health coverage for children under age 19 who are over the income limit for MaineCare.

MaineCare and Cub Care provide the same health coverage — the only difference is the low monthly cost for Cub Care. While MaineCare is free, the cost for Cub Care is between $8 and $64 per month based on income level.

All services that are covered by MaineCare are also covered by Cub Care, such as:

  • Doctor visits
  • Medications
  • Behavioral health services
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital visits
  • X-rays and labs
  • Transportation to MaineCare covered services

Katie Beckett Program

Children under age 19 with serious health conditions who are over the income level for free
MaineCare may get MaineCare coverage through the Katie Beckett program.

There is no income limit to Katie Beckett eligibility and children enrolled in Katie Beckett pay a low-cost premium for health coverage.

What is the income limit for Cub Care (CHIP)?

Cub Care covers children who live in families with income at or below 213% of the federal poverty level or about $52,950 for a family of three to qualify.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $31,060
  • 2 $42,000
  • 3 $52,950
  • 4 $63,900
  • 5 $74,850
  • 6 $85,800
  • 7 $96,740
  • 8 $107,690

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

How do I apply for Cub Care for my child?

To apply for Cub Care, go to or call 1-855-797-4357 if you prefer to enroll by phone or speak with an eligibility specialist.

If household income is over the limit for MaineCare or Cub Care (CHIP), children with severe disabilities may qualify for full MaineCare coverage through the Katie Beckett Program.

Maine Child Care Subsidy Program #

Maine Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) provides child care subsidy for eligible families in Maine who need help paying for child care. It is also available for families where the adult(s) are retired and are the legal guardian of a child.

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 a portion of child care costs on a sliding scale.

What is the income limit for child care assistance in Maine?

Families with gross income less than or equal to 85% of the State Median Income (SMI) are eligible to apply for subsidy. For example, income eligibility limit for a family of three is at or below $5,885 a month.

How do I apply for child care assistance in Maine?

Complete a signed CCSP Application along with a copy of all required documentation and return it to the address stated in the application.

For additional information or questions, call
Office of Child & Family Services

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 Maine Section 8, 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
(866) 357-4853

COVID-19 Rental Relief Program #

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is now closed and is no longer accepting applications.

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 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 Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) #

Maine HEAP provides assistance to low income households for their energy bills — primarily to help pay winter home heating bills for those who qualify.

HEAP 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.

Eligible households may receive a one-time credit of up to $2,116. Households with the elderly or disabled or a young child under age 5 are given priority consideration.

How do I apply for HEAP in Maine?

Applications for the 2023-2024 season are accepted from July 17, 2023. To apply for HEAP, contact the Community Action Agency that serves your county.

Maine Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Maine LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program designed to help low-income households and families who have fallen behind on their water and wastewater bills.

Households eligible for LIHWAP benefits will have a one-time credit applied to their water utilities account. It covers unpaid bill balances, property liens for water utility non-payment and bills for customers facing a disconnection notice.

How do I get help with my water bill in Maine?

If you are in danger of falling behind on your water bills and need help, you need to submit a completed application along with copies of the documents listed here to:

MaineHousing, Energy & Housing Services
26 Edison Drive, Augusta, ME 04330

Maine Unemployment Insurance #

Maine Unemployment Insurance (UI) 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 $538 per week.

In addition, you can receive an additional $25 per week per dependent — up to 75% of your weekly benefit amount.

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.

Maine State Grant Program #

Maine State Grant Program is a need-based program that provides grants to undergraduate students in Maine 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 10,000 to meet the maximum EFC requirement set for each year.

The award amount is up to $2,500 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.

If this is not your state, please select yours here.
Share this article