What is the General Assistance Program?
It is a service administered for the aid of people who are unable to provide the basic necessities to maintain themselves or their families.
It provides a specific amount and type of aid for defined needs during a limited period and is not a continual categorical assistance program. General Assistance is administered in accordance with the Town of Farmington’s current adopted ordinance and Maine state law.
General Assistance gives help with basic necessities such as food, shelter, fuel, electricity, and medical services.
We expect that recipients meet all eligibility requirements when we grant assistance.
The Work Requirement
If an individual is unemployed, but able to work, he or she must do the following:
- register to work
- actively look for work
- accept a suitable job offer
- participate in training or educational programs that would help them get a job
If an individual does not comply with these work requirements, they may not be eligible to receive General Assistance for 120 days. If an individual is working, but quits their job without just cause, they will be ineligible to receive assistance for 120 days. Also, if an individual is working, but is fired from their job for misconduct, they will be ineligible to receive assistance for 120 days.
The Importance of Utilizing Resources
It is important that a person use their income for basic necessities. When their income is enough to pay for their household expenses, but they spend it on items that are not essential, they will not be eligible.
Also, an individual must use all resources that would diminish their need for General Assistance.
- TANF and any other government program
- Support from legally liable relatives
- Support payments
- Medical or rehabilitative programs
How to Apply for General Assistance
An individual must apply in person unless an emergency exists. If an individual cannot come in to apply due to medical reasons, two options are available to them. One, they can send in an individual to pick up an application for them or two, they can request a telephone interview.
Applications are taken by appointments with the Welfare Director. The hours for appointments are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8am until 1pm and Thursday 3pm to 6pm unless there is an emergency. The number to make an appointment is: 207-585-2348. For emergencies during non- working hours or weekends, please call Dina Walker at 207-808-3425
Upon arrival, the Welfare Director will greet an applicant and then take a written application. An applicant must provide verification about household income, expenses, and the number of people in the household. They must provide receipts that show how current income has been spent. Only receipts for basic necessities are considered allowable expenses. It is the applicant’s responsibility to plan and use their income wisely and within the General Assistance guidelines.
We also ask the applicant to bring the following information: a form of I.D., a doctor’s statement if an individual is ill, disabled, or unable to work, and financial statements from checking and savings accounts, and insurance policies.
We determine eligibility within 24 hours unless the caseworker is unable to complete the interview due to a lack of information. The individual applying for assistance has the responsibility to prove that they are eligible. If the documentation is incomplete, the caseworker may have to deny the request for assistance until the applicant provides all the necessary information.
An applicant is considered in need of General Assistance if their income or other resource is less than the applicable maximum level of assistance as established by State law. We call this difference between the applicant’s income and the overall maximum levels the applicant’s deficit.
What Happens when Assistance Is Granted?
Within twenty-four hours after you apply for General Assistance, the caseworker will give you a written decision explaining why you are or are not granted assistance. If you are eligible, you will receive both the decision and the assistance. When you are ineligible for assistance, you receive the decision and are informed that you can challenge the decision by requesting a fair hearing. The Fair Hearing Authority consists of three City Councilors who preside over hearings appealing the decisions of the department.
General Assistance is intended to help people who are in need and have nowhere else to turn. It is a program of last resort. The municipality has the responsibility to assist eligible people who are in need.