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Frequently Asked Questions
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What is General Assistance?

General Assistance is a service administered by a municipality for the immediate aid of persons who are unable to provide the basic necessities essential to maintain themselves or their families (22 M.R.S.A. section 4301(5)).  Assistance must be granted or denied within 24 hours of an application.  General Assistance is a program of last resort and is available to help people who are not eligible for any other assistance program.



What are the basic necessities?

Food, shelter, utilities and heating fuel.



Who administers General Assistance?

State law requires every municipality to have a General Assistance program (section 4305) to handle emergencies.  The people responsible for administering the program are the overseers.  The overseers can be the Board of Selectpersons, or the municipal officers may appoint someone to administer the General Assistance program.  The Town of Buxton appoints a Welfare Director who oversees the administration of the General Assistance program.  It is the General Assistance Administrator’s responsibility, not the applicant’s, to determine if the request for assistance is an emergency.



How can an individual apply for General Assistance?

Applications for Assistance are taken by appointment on Tuesday and Thursday.  Appointments can be made by calling the Welfare Director at 207-929-5191.  General Assistance Office Hours are:  Tuesday and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.



What information is needed to process an Application?

Applicants are required to complete an application which asks general information about the number of persons living in the household, income and assets as well as monthly expenses.  Applicants will be asked to show proof of expenses including food, rent/mortgage, heating fuel, electricity, water/sewer, medical expenses and so forth.  Without complete information about the applicant’s income and expenses, the Administrator cannot determine eligibility.

When you apply for General Assistance please bring the following information:

1.      your most recent bills and/or other proof of expenses including:  rent/mortgage, heating fuel, electricity, food, medical expenses;
2.      cancelled checks, receipts, or other documents that show how you have spent your money and and income in the past 30 days.
3.      proof of all household income including pay stubs, TANF, SSI and SSDI statements, child support and alimony payments;
4.      financial statements from all your bank accounts;
5.      your driver's license or other photo identification;
6.      your Social Security number and the Social Security numbers of all members of your household;
7.      your doctor's statement if you are ill, disabled, or not able to work.

General Assistance Administrators have the authority to request sufficient evidence to determine if any applicant has any cash on hand and how any income in the last 30 days has been spent.

It is up to you to show that you are eligible.  If you do not bring in all the information that has been asked for, the administrator may have to deny your request for assistance until you provide the necessary information.

When you apply for General Assistance you are required to give full and accurate information.  Any person who does not tell the truth and who knowingly and willfully makes a falso representation of material facts in order to attempt to receive General Assistance will be disqualified for 120 days and may be found ineligible.



What is considered income?

The state law defines income as “any form of income in cash or in kind received by the household” (section 4301(7)).  This definition refers to the net amount of earned income as well as retirement benefits, TANF, disability insurance, workers compensation benefits, social security income, alimony, support payments or other forms of discretionary cash or in-kind contributions that may come into the household from employment, friends, relatives or any other source.



What is the maximum level of assistance?

The Department of Human Services establishes the maximum levels of assistance.  The Town of Buxton adopts maximum levels provided by the Maine Department of Human Service.  The amount of assistance an applicant receives depends upon the situation.  The Town of Buxton is bound by the maximum levels of assistance for various basic necessities and it will not exceed the maximum levels.



Who determines if a person is eligible for assistance?

Certifying that an applicant is eligible for assistance is one of the General Assistance Administrator’s most important duties.  Applicants have the burden of proving that they are eligible for general assistance.  The applicant must show the need for general assistance by providing written documentation such as wage stubs, receipts and bills.  The General Assistance Administrator is responsible for verifying that information (section 4309).  The Administrator may gather or verify information from other sources provided the administrator, prior to contacting third parties, informs the applicant of the sources which will be contacted.  If an applicant refuses to allow the Administrator to make a third party contact, the applicant’s request for general assistance may be denied.


 
Town of Buxton
  185 Portland Road, Buxton, ME 04093 (207) 929-5191
Mon, Tues, Thur, Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm & Wed: 11:30am - 7:30pm