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$850 checks to most Mainers soon despite envelope shortage

June 1, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Most Maine residents will soon receive $850 checks to help them cope with inflation after a shortage of envelopes and paper products threatened to slow delivery.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday her administration will send the first round of the checks this week. Mills said an initial 5,000 checks are to be sent on Thursday and an estimated 200,000 will be mailed per week after that, so most residents will receive the money by the middle of July.

The Maine Legislature approved the rebate program, which returns more than half of the state’s $729 million budget surplus to residents. The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services was initially concerned about the envelope shortage, but the Office of the Maine State Treasurer has confirmed that it has a sufficient number of envelopes to send the checks, Mills’ office said.

The checks are going to full-time Maine residents who file tax returns and have incomes less than $100,000 if filing single or $200,000 if filing jointly. The checks are going out in the midst of a paper shortage that has affected communities around the country and threatened everything from elections to toilet paper.

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“The budgets of so many hardworking Maine people have been stretched to the brink by inflation, and while we cannot control inflation or global markets, we can make sure that Maine people have what they need to grapple with these rising costs,” Mills said.

Mills said the average Maine family will receive $1,700 in relief. Residents who have not filed a tax return have until Oct. 31 to file one and still claim a check. The checks are not available to people who are claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.

The checks are an outgrowth of a $1.2 billion supplemental budget Mills signed in April. The state also created a website designed to answer questions about filing taxes and determining eligibility for a relief check.