This season there has been unprecedented need for the home energy assistance program, which unfortunately can lead to longer application processing and hold times on the phone. Agencies are doing their best to help all households in need as quickly as they can. Please be patient.
Below you will find information and answers to common questions and concerns.
Note: Your designated Energy Assistance Agency is the agency that will process your application, apply your benefits and help with other potential benefits. Lookup the agency for your area here.
LIHEAP (or Fuel Assistance) is a federal program that helps qualified households within a certain income threshold pay a portion of their winter home heating bills.
Eligibility is based on annual gross household income, family size and annual heat consumption
Check full eligibility chart on www.masscap.org/eligibility-requirements-heating-assistance/
Note: These are federal income eligibility guidelines that agencies must follow.
Generally, benefits levels are determined based on home energy costs, taking into account household size and income, as well as other factors.
You will receive either a letter of eligibility or a letter of denial mailed directly to you
Check your agency Interactive Voice Retrieval Line (need your social security number)
The program begins on November 1st and ends on April 30th. Primary heating bills incurred between this period of time are eligible for payment depending upon your maximum benefit level.
The agency will pay the vendor directly.
If you have a balance owed to your utility company, you should inquire about the Arrearage Forgiveness program offered by your utility company (excluding municipal companies).
The fuel assistance program helps households with their primary heating source bills. If determined eligible, your agency will notify your electric company so that you can be put on the discount rate, which in turn will lower your monthly electric bill. (Municipal electric companies excluded.)
If your electricity is shut off or about to be shut off, you can contact your fuel assistance agency for additional information.
If you live in non-subsidized housing and have your heat included in your rent, you may be eligible for a 30% reimbursement of your monthly rent paid back to you. Reimbursements are for the winter months between November – April or up to your maximum benefit level.
You can apply online at https://toapply.org/MassLIHEAP
You can also contact the agency that services your city or town and make an appointment.
Agencies have a voice retrieval line where you can check status as long as you have your social security number. This may be part of the main fuel assistance number or may be a separate number. Check your agency website (find in the agency finder) or call their fuel assistance number.
Typically 6-8 weeks from date of application (it could be longer due to high demand currently)
Incomplete applications may take longer
Please note that benefits are for the current season. Even if your application is approved late in the season, the full benefit awarded will be applied.
Applications are processed up to the last day of the program (April 30), and if approved, benefits will still be applied. If you are waiting for your application to be processed but have an emergency, please contact your agency right away. Emergencies are prioritized.
o A copy of your current heating bill
o Identification for all household members including a picture ID for the head of household
o Current GROSS income from all sources and all household members for the past 30 days (4 consecutive pay stubs if paid weekly or 2 if paid bi-weekly)
o Children 18 years and over who are students must provide a letter from the school indicating they are a full time student currently enrolled in school
o If over 18 and claiming no income must sign a no-income statement. If you claimed no income for more than a year you must supply a wage statement from the Social Security office
o Current tenant profile if you have a rental subsidy
o A copy of your last check or print-out if receiving fixed income (Social Security, Disability, SSI, etc.)
o Check stub, letter from pension co. or 1099 document received at the end of the year from pensions showing current gross amount.
o If receiving child support, must provide copies of four current payments or court order with current copy of check or stub. Or, notarized statement from ex-spouse stating amount and frequency of payments
o Four most recent stubs workers compensation
o Unemployment award status
o Documentation for the source of Interest Income of over $100 or more
o If self-employed, a signed copy of prior year’s entire tax returns with all attachments. If self-prepared the signature page must be notarized. A transcript will be requested as well.
o If you own a multi-family home: Rent receipts for your tenants, Property Tax bill, Homeowners insurance, Water/Sewer bill, Mortgage interest statement or current signed copy of entire Federal Tax returns, including Schedule E
Contact your energy assistance agency and be sure to indicate it is an emergency
Emergencies are handled first
While LIHEAP funds can only be used to help you pay to heat your home, by submitting an application you also apply for three additional programs:
The federally funded household water assistance program (LIHWAP), which helps eligible households pay a portion of their overdue water and sewer bills,
The Heating System Repair and Replacement Program (HEARTWAP)
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
We encourage you to still contact your agencies. Many agencies have other funds to help those just over income.
Your area agency is the point of contact for assistance with your application, status updates, or other customer support requests.