About 40,000 pandemic relief checks totaling $19 million were issued to recipients but never cashed and are now being treated as unclaimed property by the state, the Mills administration announced Monday.

The unclaimed checks represent nearly 2% of the 2.3 million checks the administration sent to help deal with the pandemic and its aftermath, including inflation. Overall, the administration distributed nearly $1.3 billion worth of relief checks.

Officials said the funding is still available through the Maine Unclaimed Property program and they encouraged people to check to see if they’re entitled to a payment.

“My administration worked with the Legislature to deliver multiple relief payments to Maine people to help them through the economic hardships caused by the pandemic,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a written statement. “Now, like then, we want to make sure that money goes directly back into the pockets of Maine people. I urge you to check the Maine Unclaimed Property program to make sure you are not owed a relief payment or other unclaimed property held by the state.”

Lawmakers approved three rounds of direct payments to Maine residents, ranging from $285 to $850, to help people deal with the pandemic and its aftermath, including inflation and high energy costs.

The first round of checks went out in late 2021, with $285 checks being sent to nearly 525,000 people with adjusted gross income of less than $75,000.

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The following spring, lawmakers approved a second round of checks and increased the income limits. That time, $850 checks were sent to 876,000 people earning up to $100,000.

The final round of payments was sent out early last year to help offset high energy prices. Checks of $450 were sent to about 877,000 people earning up to $100,000.

“Over 98% of the funds made it directly into the hands of Maine people to help with rising costs,” state Treasurer Henry Beck said in a written statement. “Now we want to do everything we can to get the remaining payments to their rightful owners and will be doing that through our unclaimed property system.”

With the addition of the uncashed relief checks, the state is now holding more than $346 million in unclaimed property.


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