General Assistance Reform Law Goes Into Effect Today

Augusta – Beginning today, municipalities are able to deny benefits to people who are not making a good faith effort to pay back fraudulently received benefits. Previously, people only have had to wait 120 days and they are then free to receive benefits again – regardless of past fraud.

The change in law is due to the passage of LD 722, “An Act To Strengthen Penalties for Abuse of General Assistance,” sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin).

“I am pleased that this measure had bipartisan support in both chambers and is now law in Maine,” said Senator Brakey. “I think we can all agree that any form of welfare benefit is best used if it goes to those who truly need it, not those who fraudulently represent their needs.”

The measure is one of several welfare reform bills that passed the Republican Senate, but is the only one to make through the Democrat-controlled House as well.