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General assistance (GA) is a program available in each municipality in Maine to help eligible people who do not have enough money to cover basic living costs. It provides confidential financial assistance to Biddeford residents who are having difficulty meeting basic needs such as rent, food, electricity, personal and household supplies, medication, heating fuel, and other essential services.
General Assistance is funded by local property taxes with 70% reimbursement from the state.
For the purposes of this program a “resident” means a person who is physically present in Biddeford with the intention of remaining in Biddeford to maintain or establish a home and who has no other residence.
You can apply at the Biddeford City Hall located at 205 Main Street, Suite 101. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm. Applications are taken by appointment. You can call (207) 284-9514 or come into the office to schedule an appointment.
If it is on a weekend or after hours and you have a life threatening emergency, you may contact the Biddeford Police Department at (207) 282-5127
Your first visit will require an interview with a caseworker during which you will complete a written application. First visits take approximately 45 minutes.
Your General Assistance budget will be based on the 30-day period following your application. We will also look back to 30 days before you applied, to see what money you received, and how you spent it. You will need to provide:
Yes. Your application and any case records pertaining to it are strictly confidential by law. You, the applicant, your attorney and certain government personnel may review your records. The City will need to know who to pay your GA vouchers to, such as your landlord. The City will also need for you to give permission for them to contact people who can verify your income and other necessary information. The general public cannot review your records unless you have given your written permission.
Maybe. You would want to apply and if your income is less than your necessary expenses and the program’s income maximum, you will be evaluated.
We will issue you a written decision as to your eligibility within 24 hours after you apply and we will promptly furnish any assistance for which you are determined eligible within our guidelines. However, please be aware that if you have not furnished sufficient information, including verification required, to enable us to determine eligibility, we must consider your application incomplete and find you ineligible for any assistance until you reapply with adequate information
The General Assistance Program is regulated by State Law, which has set an overall maximum amount of assistance that a household can receive. In addition, each municipality’s GA guidelines contain maximum amounts of assistance allowable for each category of assistance including, rent, food, electricity, etc. We cannot exceed those established maximums even though household’s expenses for various items may exceed those amounts. To be eligible, your income must fall below the overall maximum level of assistance for a household your size and your income must also be less than the amount you need to pay for basic necessities using City guidelines.
The law states that as a general rule security deposits will not be considered a basic necessity and thus municipalities are not generally responsible for paying them.
General Assistance does not furnish money directly to the eligible person or household. All assistance is issued in the form of City vouchers payable to vendors who have provided your household with goods or services.
At the time an applicant receives a decision on their application, the administrator will inform them of their responsibilities for being eligible in the future. The period covered by your application and any assistance given under that application cannot exceed 30 days. However, there is no limitation on how many times a person can reapply and continue to be found eligible for assistance. The General Assistance program budgets your needs for 30 days forward from the date of your application. Upon a repeat application for General Assistance, the client must provide documentation (receipts) of all their spending over the past thirty days. The amount of income from all sources received by the household must be provided. The Applicant must show that they have utilized all potential resources the administrator referred them to on their notice of eligibility.
General Assistance is a program that encourages clients to do all they can to prevent needing future assistance. An applicant may be found ineligible to receive general assistance if they: misspend their money on items that are not considered basic necessities (this will count as money available to the household and will affect the amount of eligibility); if a client forfeits a benefit, this benefit will not be replaced; if a client quits or is fired from a job, they are disqualified for a 120 day period; for willfully making a false representation about their eligibility; for not providing or permitting the administrator to gather necessary verification and documentation as required; as well as others.