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Last of $850 inflation relief checks to hit Maine mailboxes

Maine Legislature
Robert F. Bukaty
A sign in the house chamber shows the overwhelming approval to heating assistance to Mainers, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.

The Mills administration said Wednesday that the last batch of $850 inflation relief checks has finally gone out, just a few weeks before another round of checks start to arrive in mailboxes.

The vast majority of eligible taxpayers had received their $850 inflation relief checks from the state by late-summer of last year. But roughly 10,000 people who filed their income taxes close to the October 31, 2022, deadline had yet to receive their checks. The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services said those 10,200 payments were mailed out on Wednesday after lawmakers included additional money in the emergency spending bill that passed the Legislature earlier this month.

“We are pleased to be able to complete this nation-leading inflation relief program and get money into the hands of Maine people who need it,” Kirsten Figueroa, commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said in a statement. “With the completion of this program, our office is now shifting gears to process the recently approved energy relief payments, with the goal of beginning to send those out by the end of this month.”

The $473 million emergency spending bill passed by the Legislature several weeks ago also contained nearly $400 million to pay for another round of checks, this time aimed at helping Maine residents pay for rising heating and electricity costs.

Those $450 checks are slated to hit mailboxes between late-January and the end of March. And taxpayers who qualified for the $850 checks should automatically receive the energy relief checks as long as they did not amend their 2021 tax return after receiving the $850 checks, thereby pushing them outside of the eligibility criteria, according to the department.

To be eligible for either payment, taxpayers must have earned less than $100,000 as an individual or $200,000 combined as a couple filing joint tax returns. But individuals must have filed an income tax return for the 2021 tax year by October 31.

Additional information on the energy assistance checks is available here.