General Assistance

Contact: Ruth Glaeser
Email: deputytreasurer@bowdoinham.com
Hours: Wednesdays 9am - 4pm, and by appointment
Phone: (207) 666-5531

The General Assistance Program provides Bowdoinham residents with assistance for basic needs such as rent, food, medication, fuel, utilities, and other essential services. All assistance is granted in voucher form or paid directly to the vendor and no cash assistance is granted.

 The Department of Health and Human Services toll-free number, to call with a question regarding the General Assistance Program is 1-800-442-6003.  

 

Frequently Asked Questions  

 

How can I apply for general assistance?

People wishing to apply for assistance should call the administrator to schedule an appointment   Each person needs to complete an application in order to determine eligibility.

What do I need to do to apply for general assistance?

Applicants must provide proof of identification for themselves and all household members (i.e. driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, etc.). 

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 (salary, child support, workers compensation benefits, unemployment, SSI, SSDI, social security, as well as any money received from family members, tax returns, etc.).

Additionally, applicants need to provide documentation of their expenses for basic necessities (these include housing, 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. Clients will receive a decision sheet showing whether or not they are eligible for assistance and what they will need to do to be eligible for future assistance. If there is a household member who is available to work, the administrator will schedule a workfare assignment which may need to be completed prior to the issuance of any assistance.

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 necessities include housing, heat, electricity, food, utilities, personal care and household supplies, and other basic necessities when they are deemed essential to an applicant's or recipient's health and safety by the general administrator.

Items that are not considered basic necessities:

  • Phone Bill
  • Cable television
  • Mail orders
  • Vehicle payments
  • Credit card debts
  • Furniture
  • Loan payments
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol
  • Vacation costs
  • Pet care costs
  • Legal fees
  • Late fees
  • Key deposits

Can the town help me to secure housing?

The town does not own any housing of its own but usually recommends that those interested in affordable housing contact the Bath Housing Authority at 443-3116 or Tedford Shelter- Family Services at 729-4583

What is workfare?

Each applicant and any member of the household who is capable of working may be required to perform work for the municipality, including work for a non-profit organization, as a condition of receiving assistance. As part of the municipal work program, the municipality can require recipients to participate in training, education, or rehabilitative programs that will assist the recipient in securing employment.

What do I need to do to be eligible for future assistance?

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 (or longer if they are seeking assistance with back due bills). 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?

Generally, general assistance is determined for a one month period only. If an applicant needs to apply for general assistance again, they are responsible for making sure they have met the requirements of the program for eligibility.

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 affect the amount of eligibility); if a client forfeits a benefit, 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 assignment; for willfully making a false representation about their eligibility; for not providing or permitting the administrator to gather the necessary verification and documentation as required; as well as others

What if I disagree with the decision of the administrator?

If you disagree with the decision, applicants should discuss the matter with the administrator. 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 decision to decide whether you are eligible for assistance. If you would like a Fair Hearing, you must request a hearing in writing within 5 working days of when you receive your decision.