Attorneys working on behalf of lower-income Mainers, the poor and disabled say the state has agreed to ensure payments of benefits and processing of applications during a state government shutdown.
They said that the state has promised it would keep all DHHS offices open with enough staffing to deal with benefits and processing in connection with the Medicaid, food stamp and general assistance programs.
A suit for an injunction was filed yesterday in federal court in an effort to guarantee that benefits would not be disrupted. Attorney Valerie Wicks, who’s working on behalf of the plaintiffs, said after the state’s promise, a hearing scheduled for this afternoon seeking emergency relief was canceled.
“But we did not withdraw the suit and we have not withdrawn our motion, because we want to wait and see to make sure the programs are operating as they normally do next week,” she said.
Wicks said this is an important victory for the 450,000 Mainers who depend on these federal programs.