General Assistance FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions related to General Assistance:

Any Auburn resident who would like to apply for general assistance will need to call the office to make an appointment to complete an application. 


Applicants need to bring a photo ID for all adult household members, Social Security numbers for all household members, birth certificates for all household members, Passport, Visa or INS if not a US Citizen, verification of household income received in the past 30 days (i.e. wages, child support, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment, social security, TANF, money received from family members, tax returns, retirement, and financial aid cost of living), verification of all expenses for the past 30 days, income expected in the next 30 days, and receipts showing where your money was spent the previous 30 days.


The law states that as a general rule security deposits will not be considered a basic necessity and thus municipalities are not generally responsible for paying them. The City of Auburn does have a security deposit program that is funded by our HOME funds through the US Housing and Urban Development. This program is for moderate to low-income families and individuals who reside in Auburn.

With the exception of first-time applicants, anyone applying for General Assistance must document their use of income.  Current receipts showing how income has been spent are required.  Only receipts for basic necessities are considered allowed expenses.  All other expenses are counted as misspent income.  (22MRSA 4315A)


Unlike many other public assistance programs, the General Assistance issued on a recipient’s behalf is treated more like a loan to the recipient. There are five mechanisms designed into General Assistance law that provide a process of recovery whereby municipalities can seek to recoup from a recipient part or all of the assistance issued. (22MRSA 4318)


Once the administrator has received and verified all the necessary information and has determined whether the applicant is eligible, the next step is to give a written notice of the decision to the applicant. The administrator must give a written decision to applicants each time they apply, whether assistance is granted or denied, within 24 hours of receiving a completed application.


The Workfare Program is a means for able-bodied persons to work in exchange for the assistance that they receive, and to acquire the skills necessary to obtain and maintain permanent employment.  The workfare program also consists of training and educational mandates that assist clients in securing employment.

You must use all available income and resources available to you, apply for and utilize any potential resources or benefits you are referred to (i.e. TANF, Food Supplements, Mainecare, LIHEAP), not lose or decrease benefits from other public assistance programs, and if working you must maintain your employment and/or not cause yourself to be fired or quit. (22 MRSA 4317)

General assistance is a program that helps enable clients to be self-sufficient and do all they can to prevent needing future assistance.  An applicant may be found ineligible to receive general assistance if they misspent their money on items that are not considered basic necessities (this money is counted as if it is still available and will affect the eligibility), forfeit a benefit (it can not be replaced), and/or does not provide or permit the administrator to gather the necessary verification and documentation as required.  An applicant may be disqualified to receive general assistance for a 120-day period if they fail to complete workfare, job searches or any other assignments, willfully make a false representation, and/or quits a job or is fired without just cause.