I need MaineCare, TANF, and/or SNAP (food stamps), where do I go to apply?
These services are run through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). To apply or get in touch with DHHS, you can call 1-855-797-4357 or go to www.maine.gov/mymaineconnection
Can I lose my MaineCare?
I need to apply for Medicaid or MaineCare
MaineCare is what Medicaid is called in Maine. You can still apply for MaineCare online at www.maine.gov/mymaineconnection or by phone (1-855-797-4357).
I need a COVID-19 test and I have MaineCare, what should I do?
Contact a healthcare provider for an initial determination about whether you should be tested. If they determine that you need a test, you will not be charged for the test.
I have MaineCare and I need to fill my prescriptions or go to the doctor. What will I be charged?
You will not be charged a copay for:
- prescriptions and pharmacy services,
- office visits,
- clinical visits,
- hospital care,
- medical imaging and radiology services,
- home health services,
- personal support services,
- behavioral health services, and
- medical supplies and Durable Medical Equipment (DME).
You should be able to get up to a 90- day supply of the medications you need.
If you have a “Prior Authorization” for prescriptions, it may be extended. If you need asthma or immune-related medicine, you do not need a prior authorization to have those prescriptions covered.
You may also be able to see a doctor and get prescriptions through telehealth, which means using your computer to see a doctor.
I use LogistiCare, Penquis CAP, or Midcoast Connector for non-emergency transportation to my appointments. Can I still get a ride?
Yes. Non-Emergency Transportation services will continue. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, suspect that you have COVID-19, or you have tested positive for COVID-19, special transportation arrangements can be made. You should contact your transportation company to ask about arrangements.
I need financial assistance right away for groceries, rent, utilities, or medicine.
Right now, you can apply for General Assistance on an emergency basis. General Assistance is a program run through each town in Maine. You should call your town office or 1-800-442-6003 to apply.
I’ve been staying with friends, camping, and moving around a lot. I’m not sure what town I should apply in.
You can apply in the town where you currently are if you intend to stay there. If you do not have a residence or you do not intend to stay where you are, you should apply in the town where you would like to live. If you move to a new city or town, you should make your next application in your new town. Since all applications are being done through phone interviews, check your city or town’s website for the number to call.
Example: I’ve been staying on a friend’s couch in Brewer on Mondays and Tuesdays, but I stay with family in Bangor a few nights a week as well. When the weather is nice enough, I camp outside in Old Town, but I’m applying for apartments in all three towns. I need GA for my cell phone bill because that’s how I get in touch with my doctor who I need to see every month. I would most like to live in Bangor because of the busses. Once I find an apartment, I will need GA for my rent.
Since this person wants to live in Bangor and does not currently have a residence in one town, they can apply for GA in Bangor. Let’s say they end up finding an apartment that accepts GA vouchers in Old Town after receiving GA in Bangor. The next time they apply for GA it should be through the Old Town office.
But I applied for GA recently, won’t they ask for receipts?
No, all applications during the State of Civil Emergency declared by the Governor are considered “emergency” applications. This means you do not need to provide proof of how your income was spent before you applied.
Doesn’t GA require me to do a work search?
During the State of Civil Emergency, there is no work search requirement to receive GA.
I called my town and they told me I am not eligible for GA.
You still have the right to complete an application. If you are told that you are not eligible, you should ask to apply anyway. The town must give you a written decision.
If you are denied, you have five (5) business days to ask for an appeal. You can write it by hand. You have the right to a hearing about your application within 5 days of submitting your appeal. You can call Pine Tree Legal Assistance for help with an appeal.
How long can I get GA before I have to apply again?
During the State of Civil Emergency declared by the Governor, you can get GA for 60 days instead of 30 before you have to re-apply.
I’m worried I can’t get enough money through GA to cover my needs
You should apply anyway! All applications are treated as emergency applications during this time, so you may be eligible for more financial help than you would have been before the State of Civil Emergency. You will not know how much you are eligible for until you apply.
I was cut off from TANF because I reached the 60 month limit, can I re-apply for TANF?
Yes. The 60 month limit is waived during the emergency. If you are going to reach the 60 month limit, you should contact DHHS about getting an extension. You can also apply for TANF if you reached the 60 month limit prior to the emergency.
Do I have to do work search or ASPIRE to get TANF?
No. Face-to-face meetings and work search requirements are waived during the emergency. You cannot be sanctioned for not following ASPIRE rules during this time.
Who do I call to apply for TANF or ask questions about the requirements?
Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP”)
I am about to reach the 3-month limit for SNAP, what do I do?
The 3-month limit on SNAP benefits is suspended during this time. You will continue to get your benefits for at least one month after the federal public health emergency has ended.
If you previously lost your SNAP because of the 3-month limit you should reapply. You may be eligilbe for SNAP benefits during this emergency.
I received more SNAP benefits this month than I was expecting. Was this a mistake? Will I have to pay it back?
No. Seventy-five percent (75%) of all Maine SNAP households saw an increase in their SNAP benefits December 2020. It is possible this increase will continue into 2021. We will update with more information if it is extended.
Can my SNAP be terminated during the emergency?
Only if your household income goes over the eligibility limit of 185% of the federal poverty level. For example, in 2020 185% of the federal poverty level would be an income of $48,470 per year, or $4,039 per month for a family of four.
What are the work requirements to get SNAP?
Work requirements are suspended for ALL recipients during the emergency.
I’m worried about not being able to get to an interview or submit my documents on time.
Requirements for SNAP have changed dramatically to allow households to receive SNAP benefits during the emergency. You will not have an interview in person. You can apply over the phone or ask for an extension during this time and it should be granted.
I receive social security retirement, supplemental security income (SSI) or social security disability insurance (SSDI), will I continue receiving my benefit?
Yes. Whether you get your benefit through direct deposit or by mail, you should continue to receive it.
Can I go to my local Social Security office for help?
No. All Social Security offices are closed to the public at this time. You can communicate with the Social Security Administration (SSA) online or by phone or mail. SSA is asking everyone to try to do business online first. If you still need assistance, you can try to call your local office.
I had an appointment coming up with Social Security, what do I do?
If you had a scheduled appointment, someone from SSA should be contacting you to find out if your appointment can be done by phone. You should make sure that SSA has the correct phone number for you.
I was supposed to bring in documents to my SSA office, what do I do?
Do not go to your local SSA office. You can mail your documents in.
But there is a deadline and I can’t mail them in on time!
Social Security is extending deadlines wherever possible. You should not lose your benefit because you did not submit something on time during this emergency. Contact Pine Tree Legal Assistance if you receive a notice that your benefit is being terminated.
How can I tell whether the person calling me is actually from Social Security or a scammer?
If you already had a scheduled appointment, Social Security may call you to reschedule. They may call from a PRIVATE number. Remember, someone from Social Security will never threaten you or demand immediate payment.
I have a non-disability hearing scheduled, will my hearing still happen?
Yes, if you are okay with a telephone hearing. Administrative Law Judges can still conduct hearings by phone. You will first get a phone call to verify that you are available for a telephone hearing.
Do I HAVE TO have my hearing over the phone?
No, you can request that the hearing be postponed until you can have it in person or by video. If your hearing is postponed, Social Security will send you a notice at least 20 days before your hearing with the new date.
I was in the middle of a medical continuing disability review...
And I am not receiving my disability benefits in the meantime:
- Social Security will go ahead with your hearing. You should make sure that you are available and Social Security has the correct phone number for you.
And I am receiving my disability benefits in the meantime.
- Social Security will postpone your hearing until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Do not request medical information from your doctors during this time.
I am paying back an overpayment or Social Security was going to start withholding part of my benefit to pay back an overpayment. Will that still happen?
Probably not. Social Security is suspending the processing and collection of overpayments where possible.
For more information about COVID-19 and Social Security, see our article: Social Security & COVID-19 FAQ