New Limits on Food Assistance as Hunger Increases in Maine

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The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has issued two new rules affecting the Food Supplement Program (Food Assistance).  Read this to help your family members and neighbors understand new food supplement asset limits and reporting requirements.

$5,000 Asset Test Now Applies to Households Without Children

This new rule will make households without children living at home ineligible receive Food Assistance if they have certain assets worth more than $5,000.  Your home, the land it sits on and one car do not count toward the asset limit.  Certain other personal items also do not count.  Savings and certain other liquid assets do count toward the asset limit.  Click here to learn more about the asset limit. 

Report Changes Promptly to Keep Your Food Assistance!

Households that receive food assistance must now report changes that affect eligibility within 10 days of knowing about the change.  Changes in income, what you pay for rent, who lives with you and other changes must be reported.  You can call the Department of Health and Human Services, write them or inform them of the changes through My Maine Connection (https://www1.maine.gov/benefits/account/login.html).  Click here to learn more about changes that need to be reported and how to report those changes. 

These new rules will mean that fewer people will have access to needed food assistance, even as hunger is increasing here in our state.  Maine now has the third highest rate of very low food security in the country while the number of hungry people nationally is falling.  As hunger in Maine continues to be on the rise, the state has also seen one of the sharpest drops in Food Assistance enrollment in the nation.  While some have touted this as success there is little doubt that it has contributed to the growing increase in hunger among Maine people.  Hunger does not end when people lose food assistance.  Most often it increases. 

Ending hunger in Maine will require larger systemic changes; we need to create more and better paying jobs, increase access to education and training opportunities, and ensure access to safe and affordable housing.  These are all within our reach with planning and commitment over time.  But right now we must protect access to food assistance for hungry Maine families.

You can take a first step in this direction by talking to your neighbors, friends and colleagues about Maine’s serious hunger crisis.  Ask for their help in spreading the word that hunger is unacceptable in Maine.

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