Frequently Asked Questions


 How can I apply for General Assistance?

People wishing to apply for assistance should call the office at 725-5821 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 necessities include housing, heat, LP Gas, electricity, 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, 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.

 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.

 Can the Town help me secure housing?

The GA program can issue a voucher for the rent and can assist you in locating housing by providing resources; but it is your responsibility to obtain the housing. It is recommended that those interested in affordable housing inquire in the local newspapers and contact the local Housing Authorities. Applications for the Brunswick and Topsham Housing Authority's are available in the GA office. A complete list of Affordable Housing Options can be found on the Maine Housing website.

Topsham Housing Authority
(207) 725-8711

Brunswick Housing Authority
(207) 725-8711 

Bath Housing Authority
(207) 443-3116

 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.

 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.