LIHEAP – Fuel Assistance FAQs
WHAT IS FUEL ASSISTANCE?
Fuel assistance is a federally funded program to assist low income households with their heating bills. This program runs November 1st – April 30th of each year.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUEL ASSISTANCE?
Any low-income household whose gross yearly income falls at or below the income guidelines may be eligible. (SEE GUIDELINES)
Homeowners and tenants are can both be eligible to receive fuel assistance. All heating types are included in the fuel assistance program, even some households who have heat included in their rent.
DO I GET A DISCOUNT ON MY HEATING BILL?
If you are eligible for fuel assistance you may be eligible for a discount from your utility companies. Gas and Electric companies offer discounts. Verizon offers a lifeline discount on basic service.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DISCOUNT INCLUDE:
- The account must be in the name of the person listed as head of household on the fuel assistance application. If the bill is in someone else’s name, the utility company will not offer you the discount rate.
- Your gross yearly household income must fall with 60% of the poverty level. (see guidelines)
- Fuel assistance will automatically notify the utilities if you are found to be eligible for the discount.
*Incoming guidelines are subject to change.
SHOULD I PAY ANYTHING ON MY HEATING BILL IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR FUEL ASSISTANCE?
You should always attempt to make payments on your bill, even if you are not able to pay the full amount. This benefit is a supplement to assist you in meeting your heat and/or utility costs. It is not intended to replace your personal payments. Therefore, you should continue to pay your energy bills.
WHAT IS THE CONSUMPTION BENEFIT?
You may be eligible for an additional benefit if the cost of heat for your home over the last 12 months is high and exceeds the threshold set for your heating source.
The consumption threshold and benefit amount is determined by our funding source and is subject to change each year. The thresholds and benefit levels will be announced when the program begins.
CITIES/TOWNS SERVED: Adams, Alford, Ashley Falls, Becket, Berkshire, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Drury, East Otis, Florida, Glendale, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Housatonic, Lanesboro, Lee, Lenox, Lenoxdale, Mill River, Monterey, Mt. Washington, New Ashford, New Marlboro, North Adams, North Egremont, Otis, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, South Egremont, South Lee, Southfield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, & Windsor.
IF I THINK I AM ELIGIBLE FOR FUEL ASSISTANCE, HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM?
Based on the income guidelines, if you believe you may be eligible for fuel assistance and if you live in a town covered by our service area call our main office at 413-445-4503 to make an appointment.
WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE TO APPLY FOR FUEL ASSISTANCE?
- Photo ID for Head of Household
- Social Security cards for all household members
- Proof of income for every household member over the age of 18 for the 30 days prior to your appointment date.
- Wages (4 consecutive weeks)
- Social Security (verification of gross amount from the source)
- Pension (verification of gross amount from the source)
- EAEDC-TANF (Award letter)
- Self-Employment (Most current *Certified tax return)
- Rental Income (Most current *Certified tax return)
- Child Support (court order, DOR print out, or notarized letter from ex-spouse)
- Unemployment (4 consecutive weeks)
- Lease/Full name address and phone number of Landlord
- Mortgage statement/Tax bill, Home Owners Insurance
- Current Gas and Electric bills
*If taxes are self-prepared an IRS tax transcript is needed and can be obtained by calling 1-800-829-1040
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I AM ELIGIBLE AND FOR HOW MUCH?
Once your application has been received you can call our automated phone system at 1-866-216-6200 to check the status of your application, eligibility, and any payments made to your heating account. You will need to know your social security number to access your information. The automated system is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You will not be able to speak with a representative from this number.
PLEASE NOTE: THE PAYMENTS LISTED MAY NOT SHOW UP ON YOUR HEATING BILL IMMEDIATELY
Fuel assistance can only pay for the cost of the heat you actually use from Nov 1st to April 30th. If the cost of heating your home is less than your benefit amount, we can only pay that amount. Unused benefit amounts are returned to the funding source.