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Public assistance and government aid in Maine.

Residents of Maine can receive help from several public assistance programs. Resources are administered by both the state of Maine as well as federal government funded organizations. Families who are struggling with paying their bills can apply for public aid, including free food, emergency financial assistance, health care, and cash grants. More details on the social services offered by Maine Department of Health and Human Services (phone 207-287-3707) are below, as well as an application number. Or try the My Main Connection website portal.

Maine child care assistance programs are wide ranging. Vouchers, subsidies, and other public and government programs can help pay these costs. The various components of the program include those listed below.

  • Finding Safe and Affordable Child Care – Various types of child care available in Maine, and the state can help people search for and find safe, affordable and high quality child care.
  • Child Care Tax Credits - Tax credits at both the state and federal government level can benefit families with young children.
  • Child Care Subsidy/Voucher Program offers funds and subsidies for paying child care. Locate ways to get help and solutions that assist families with paying for child care. The parent needs to be working or attending job training, among other conditions to getting help.

Alternative Aid Assistance, also known as ASPIRE/JET, is a state of Maine program to help TANF and/or food stamp recipients find employment and job opportunities. TANF eligible parents who need short term help with paying bills, and longer term self-sufficiency, can get help both finding a job and maintaining employment from social workers and case managers. Short term voucher payments and cash assistance equal up to three months worth of public funds and other benefits are available to families to help them avoid the need for longer term TANF benefits.

Maine Emergency Financial Assistance is available to provide benefits to families with children in emergency or crisis situations. The state Emergency Assistance program provides public assistance and government benefits to lower income and working poor families with children. It operates in certain situations. Aid is offered when the family is threatened by homelessness due to an unexpected emergency situation or short term crisis. Some examples of these situations can include evictions, fire, other natural disasters, lack of adequate shelter, or termination of utility or heating service. Only certain bills and expenses can be paid for.




Maine’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Food Supplement/Food Stamps, can help low income people buy food and groceries. This public program helps low-income people buy the food they need for good health and nutrition. A focus of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program is for people who.

  • Have lost their job, are unemployed or work part time.
  • Seniors, the disabled, or others who live on a fixed income can get free food.
  • Individuals who work for low wages.
  • Families who receive welfare or other public assistance payments may qualify for SNAP.
  • The homeless and people on the verge of eviction.

Various state public assistance agencies and organizations run the food assistance program through their local offices in your town and county. My Maine Connection is another way to find a resource.

Head Start is offered across the state by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. The federal government funded program may serve children from birth to age five whose families meet the Federal government guidelines for income. It offers education, social services, health, and nutrition assistance. Early Head Start refers to programs geared for children 0-3 years of age, while the so called Head Start can help children who range from 3-5 years of age.

Other components include the American Indian Alaskan Native Head Start, which can address the specific needs of children in Maine who are from 0-5 years of age and from that population. Even children who are homeschooled have an option, as Home Start can offer programs that are offered in family child care homes.

Free or low-cost health insurance is available in Maine for families with children and pregnant women, and the public program is known as MaineCare. It can cover and pay for a number of medical services and bills, including doctor’s visits. Bills covered can include sick care, well checkups, and specialty care. Hospital care can be paid for too, including inpatient outpatient emergency room. Other services include surgery, laboratory & X-ray, medical equipment and supplies, dental care including full coverage for children and limited coverage for adults, Prescriptions and Immunizations.

Some other services also offered by MaineCare, that maybe aren’t as health care centric, include therapies such as speech/language physical occupational, case management, hearing test/hearing aids, vision screening/eyeglasses, transportation for medical appointments, and family planning services.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, provides temporary cash assistance, training, employment services and child care assistance for income qualified families and pregnant women. Low income families with newborns may also receive help from TANF in Maine. Call the Department of Health and Human Services to apply.

CareerCenters across Maine offer Employment Services to people who are looking for work. Workers can get information, advice, counseling, and job search assistance. Programs may also be available to provide training that individuals need to enter the job market.





Maine Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provides part-time training opportunities in a variety of community service settings for seniors and elderly people age 55 and over who meet government income guidelines.

Women, Work, and Community, which used to be known as Displaced Homemakers, may be able to assist people after death, disability, or divorce of a family member or spouse. This public program is committed to helping older women and men who may be facing changes in their lives by providing services such as support groups, one-to-one counseling, referral, training in job-seeking skills, and career exploration.

Applying for public or government aid in Maine

There are Social Service offices in each county to apply at. There is also the My Main Connection online applications. In addition, the state has a hotline which can be used. For more information, dial 207-287-3707 or 1-855-797-4357

By Jon McNamara














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