General Assistance

Welcome to the General Assistance Office

The General Assistance Program assists residents of Buckfield with basic necessities when the need is immediate and the individual is unable to provide the basic necessity essential to maintain themselves or their family. This is a program of last resort. 

Basic needs include the following:            

  • Food

  • Utilities

  • Heating fuel

  • Rent/mortgage

  • Personal/household supplies 

  • Non-elective medical services

  • Telephone when medically necessary

The General Assistance Program continues to be a safety net for the most needy. The State reimburses municipalities 70% of the program expenditures.

General Assistance has developed into a program that makes recipients more accountable and encourages self-reliance. A person applying for this assistance is required to utilize all available resources including TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Fuel Assistance and Subsidized Housing. With "Overall Maximums" levels of aid being very low, it is critical to network with local resources to access all available assistance. We partner with local community service provider agencies, mental health professionals, school personnel, senior citizen representatives, clergy and local law enforcement to ensure that all resources and services have been utilized in an effort to meet the resident's immediate needs. 

How can I apply for general assistance?

People wishing to apply for assistance should call the office at 207-336-2521 to schedule an appointment. An application must be completed with the general assistance administrator in order to determine eligibility.

 

What can general assistance assist with?

The town will grant assistance to eligible applicants for basic necessities according to the maximum levels for specific types of assistance. Basic necessitites include housing, heat, LP Gas, electricty, food, personal and household supplies, and other basic necessities when they are deemed essential to an applicant's health and safety by the General Assistance Administrator.

 

What do I need to do to qualify for General Assistance?

Each applicant is responsible for providing the general assistance administrator with information necessary to determine eligibility. This includes:

  • Information verifying members of the household.

  • Documentation of all sources of income received by the household (wages, child support, workers compensation benefits, unemployment, SSI, SSDI, social security, as well as any money received from family members, tax returns, etc.)

  • Proof of expenses for basic necessities: receipts /bills  for rent/mortgage, heat, electricity, water, sewer, food, phone when medically necessary, prescriptions, etc.) and work related expenses(child care expenses, transportation to work)

The administrator will make a determination of eligibility based on the overall maximums allowed by the State and the municipality. Applicants will receive a decision letter indicating whether or not they are eligible or denied, and what is required for future assistance.

General Assistance Coordinator

Lorna Dee Nichols tmbuckfield@gmail.com (207) 336-2521 or Cheryl Coffman sbcherylcoffman@gmail.com (207) 336-2521

 

Heating Assistance Program

The heating assistance program is available to residents who do not qualify for the General Assistance program or other heating assistance programs such as Warm Thy Neighbor or Li-heap and are currently experiencing a heating emergency. You must be out of heat at the present time and with-out any resources to obtain heat. Proof of household income and an application is required. Contact the office at 336-2521 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Funding for this program is available through fund raising events and donations only. There is no guarantee that funds will be available.

What would cause me to be ineligible or disqualified from the program?

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 that is still available to the household and will effect the amount of eligibility); if a client forfeits a benefit ( housing voucher, TANF, Aspire, Food supplement grant etc.) this benefit will not be replaced. If a client quits a job without just cause, they are disqualified from receiving assistance for a 120 day period.; for failing to perform or complete a workfare or work search assignment. For willfully making a false representation about eligibility; for not providing or permitting the administrator to gather the necessary verification and documentation as required; and the applicant must show that they have utilized all potential resources the administrator referred them to.

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. Once applying for general assistance all clients, regardless of whether or not they received any benefits, are responsible for showing that they have done all they can to prevent needing general assistance again. This includes providing documentation (receipts) of all their spending over the past thirty days. Again, the amount of income from all sources received by the household must be provided. Additionally, the applicant must show that they have utilized all potential resources the administrator referred them to.

How often can I apply for assistance?

GA provides " a specific amount and type of aid for defined needs during a limited period of time and is not intended to be a continuing "grant-in-aid ' or 'categorical'  welfare program"  GA is not intended to be an on-going source of income to an applicant, however there is no limitation on the number of times a person may apply.

Generally, general assistance is determined for a one to thirty day period only. An applicant can re-apply in 30 days if there is an immediate need, it is for a basic necessity and the applicant is unable to provide the basic necessities essential to maintain themselves or their families.

What if I disagree with the decision of the administrator?

When an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision regarding his/her request for assistance, the matter should be discussed with the administrator, and/or the applicant can request a Fair Hearing. All applicants have the right to request a Fair Hearing which would provide the applicant with a Board composed of individuals not involved in the initial decision. If you would like a Fair Hearing, you must request a hearing in writing within 5 working days of when you receive your decision.

To request a Fair Hearing, contact Maine Department of Health & Human Services, General Assistance Hot-Line at 1-800-442-6003

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Contact Us

Town of Buckfield

PO Box 179

34 Turner Street

Buckfield, Maine 04220

Tel: (207) 336-2521
Fax: (207) 725-1731


Emergency Non-Business Hours: (207) 725-4337

Oxford County Emergency Center

 

Lorna Dee Nichols
General Assistance Coordinator

tmbuckfield@gmail.com

 

Office Hours:

By appointment only by either

calling or email.

Ordinance and

Annual Appendices

To see the newly updated General Assistance Ordinance, please click here.

To see the updated General Assistance Maximums Summary Sheet, please click here.

Buckfield

Heating Assistance Program

The heating assistance program is available to residents who do not qualify for the General Assistance program or other heating assistance programs such as Warm Thy Neighbor or Li-heap and are currently experiencing a heating emergency. You must be out of heat at the present time and with-out any resources to obtain heat. Proof of household income and an application is required. Contact the office at 336-2521 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Funding for this program is available through fund raising events and donations only. There is no guarantee that funds will be available.

Donations are accepted online by check or credit card or mail checks made payable to the Buckfield Heating Program at Town of Buckfield PO Box 179 34 Turner Street Buckfield ME 04220 and checks or cash brought to the Tax office. 

Resources

General Assistance Application  (use only as a reference, do not complete. Application will be completed with the administrator at your appointment)

Community Resource List

Helpful Links