Q: Why are we getting these checks?

A: The state is expecting to bring in $1.2 billion more in the next year than expected, because of a combination of federal COVID-relief money and rising tax revenues.

The governor and Legislature agreed to use more than half of that surplus to help Maine people feeling the financial pressure of soaring consumer prices for everything from groceries to heating oil and gasoline.

And because economists don’t think the surplus will last, state officials wanted to use it on one-time expenses rather than continuing programs that would need to be paid for in future years when the surplus is gone.

Q: Whose idea was this?

A: Democratic Gov. Janet Mills proposed the relief checks in her spending plan for the surplus, but she credited some Republican lawmakers who had publicly suggested the idea.


Members of both parties supported it, although the details were the result of a negotiated compromise. Some Republicans wanted to include higher earners, while some Democrats wanted to limit it to lower-income residents.

Q: Who is eligible?

A: To be eligible, individuals must file a Maine individual tax return as a full-time resident by Oct. 31, 2022, not be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return and have a federal adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 as individuals (or if married and filing separately), less than $150,000 as head of household or less than $200,000 for couples filing jointly.

Q: Does each household get only one check?

A: No. Each eligible individual will receive a check. So a household with two eligible adults will receive a total of $1,700.

Q: Are Social Security recipients eligible this time?


A: Yes. While previous relief payments were aimed at working people, this one is going to a broader group of people, including those who do not work.

Q: What if I qualify but I don’t file a tax return?

A: Some people who are eligible for the relief check may not be required to file tax returns, including certain low-income Social Security recipients.

To become eligible, those people need to file a tax return by Oct. 31.

Social Security recipients who have not filed a return can use the SSA-1099 tax form, which the federal government sent in January, to file a return.

For free tax help, the state advises taxpayers of any age to visit cashmaine.org or call 211.


Q: Why can’t I get it through direct deposit like my tax return?

A: The Mills administration said mailing checks, rather than making direct deposits, is the more reliable way to distribute the funds and avoid errors. And they said the added programming needed to distribute the check electronically would actually slow the process down.

Administration officials said some tax refunds are routed to professional tax filers, so an extra layer of review would be needed to make sure the money went to the right person. They also said that only about half of the 800,000 people eligible for the payments have provided bank account information to the state and that about 49,000 people have since changed their accounts.

Q: What if I have a new mailing address?

A: Relief checks will be mailed to the address provided on your 2021 Maine individual income tax return and will be redirected to any forwarding addresses filed with the U.S. Postal Service.

If you would like to update the address on record with Maine Revenue Services, please submit in writing: the date of request, as well as your name (printed), Social Security number, signature, and proof of the new address (such as an updated photo ID, a utility bill, lease, etc.).

Send the request to: Maine Revenue Services, P.O. Box 9107, Augusta, ME 04332-9107

Q: How can I get more information or report a problem?

A: For more information, go to Maine.gov/governor/mills/relief-checks or call Maine Revenue Services at 207-624-9924.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.