Posted by: Katie Gorodetsky – WIC'sImmunization Coordinator
What is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP-Fuel Assistance) Program?
It is an energy assistance program that can help you pay for heating your house or apartment during the heating season, between November 1st and April 30th of each year. The program pays benefits of fixed amounts based on household income and size. An additional benefit may be available to eligible households with a high energy burden. Local administering agencies determine household eligibility based on annualized income and the number of members in the household. The agency then will make payments towards the heating bills to the primary heat source vendor (oil, propane, wood or coal dealer or natural gas or electric utility). Special provisions are made for those households whose heat is included in their rent and those living in subsidized housing. Households with incomes up to 60% of estimated State Median Income are eligible for the Fuel Assistance Program. This year, LIHEAP will provide fuel assistance to low-income households with annual incomes up to $60,137 for a family of four. Current benefits vary depending on income levels. Homeowners and renters are both eligible.
What benefits are available?
The Fuel Assistance Program can help you pay for any fuel (including but not limited to: oil, propane, natural gas, or electric) that you use to heat your house or apartment. If your rent includes heat, the Fuel Assistance Program may help you pay a portion of your rent.
When can you apply?
The application process for the 2012-2013 heating season began on November 1, 2012; however, applications will be taken by fuel assistance agencies until April 30, 2013. You should apply as soon as possible, as applicants are served on a first-come, first-served basis. If you received Fuel Assistance in the previous year, you should have received a copy of your application by mail. If you have not received your application, please contact your local Fuel Assistance agency.
Where can you apply?
You can apply for fuel assistance at an agency in or near your community. You can locate your fuel assistance agency by calling the toll-free “Heatline” at: 1-800-632-8175, or online at https://app2.ocd.state.ma.us/resourcelocator/
Will this reduce the amount of your cash assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) benefits?
No. The benefits that you receive from the Fuel Assistance Program will not reduce your cash assistance, SNAP, or WIC benefits.
What verifications do you need for eligibility?
1. Household size
2. Income for all household members, 18 years or older
3. Proof of address, energy bills, etc.
For more information on this and other energy assistance programs, visit: http://www.mass.gov/hed/community/energy/cold-relief-information.html