Aroostook County - Just over 200 State of Maine Tax Returns for County senior citizens and disabled individuals were completed in one day by ACAP Team Members at Tax Palooza events in Presque Isle and Fort Fairfield last week. Providing the service will now make those County residents eligible to receive the $850 Pandemic Relief Payments enacted this spring by Maine's Governor and State Legislature.
The 200-plus returns completed during the Tax Palooza event represent one-tenth of all the returns ACAP Team Members across Aroostook County and across program areas and administration in the agency have completed (or will complete) as part of the special initiative.
Altogether, in relief checks alone, ACAP Team Members will have helped bring over $1.7 million dollars into the hands of vulnerable Aroostook seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Additionally, many of those who the agency is preparing Maine State Tax returns for are getting back money in the form of separate tax returns – an average of $130 for single filers and $180 for those filing jointly (married), although many returns are higher. ACAP will be calculating those numbers after completing all returns, but projected estimates are that many more hundreds of thousands of dollars will be realized that would never have otherwise have been accessed by vulnerable members of the community.
It's not only the Pandemic Relief Benefit and Tax Return that ACAP staff are connecting customers to, but rather a whole host of other services to meet key needs that might otherwise go unmet.
At last week's event alone, the following services were either connected on the spot or scheduled for an appointment in the near future:
- 23 first-time applications completed for the Home Energy Assistance Program, and an additional 12 appointments made for the coming week
- 22 applications completed for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- 5 individuals assisted with housing concerns
- 1 individual referred to ACAP's dental hygienist to assist with oral health concerns expressed
ACAP is proud to be offering this assistance to community members countywide.
"The best part for all of us who have been assisting with these tax preparation events and appointments is the relief and gratitude expressed by the senior citizens who we are connecting with not only this relief payment and a tax return, but with other programs that will help them get through what we all fear will be a very difficult Aroostook County winter," said ACAP Executive Director/CEO Jason Parent. "The individuals we are assisting with their State of Maine Income Tax Return are mostly retired, life-long County residents who have worked all of their lives and are struggling to get by right now on limited Social Security income that has not kept pace with the record inflation and high costs for fuel and electricity we are currently facing."
To be eligible for the relief payment, individuals must file a 2021 Maine individual income tax return by October 31, 2022 as a full-time Maine resident, so there is still time for County seniors to connect with ACAP for help with filing their return and accessing the $850 per person relief payment.
Those eligible must not be claimed as a dependent, and must have a Federal adjusted gross income (FAGI) of less than:
- $100,000 if filing single or if married and filing separately;
- $150,000 if filing as head of household;
- $200,000 for couples filing jointly.
For more information on the service or to get on the list to schedule an appointment, call ACAP at 207-764-3721.
About Aroostook County Action Program
Celebrating 50 years of service to the people of northern Maine in 2022, Aroostook County Action Program provides the people of Aroostook County with services and resources that help individuals and families achieve greater economic independence. As a leader, or in partnership with others, ACAP provides guidance to the community in responding to emerging human needs in the areas of community health, early care and education, energy and housing, and workforce development services. Aroostook County Action Program continues to accept new clients as well as serve existing clients through a vast array of programming. To learn more about available services available, contact the ACAP Team at 207- 764-3721.