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LIHEAP FAQ Sheets

Table of Contents 

What Is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance for energy costs to low-income households. LIHEAP is a federal program that is administered by individual states, territories, and tribes. In Massachusetts, LIHEAP is administered by the Massachusetts Association of Community Action (MASSCAP).

Learn more about LIHEAP by reviewing the federal program fact sheet here.

For more information about LIHEAP in Massachusetts, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in Massachusetts?

The Community Action Partnership Association of Massachusetts oversees LIHEAP benefits and provides financial assistance for heating expenses to qualified households. Financial assistance can include payment for:

  • Past-due utility bills
  • Deliverable fuel (propane and wood)
  • Disconnection/reconnection fees
  • Repairs and replacements of worn parts on heating units
  • Home weatherization

For more information about LIHEAP’s heating assistance initiative in Massachusetts, see the Massachusetts state 2022 LIHEAP Detailed Model Plan here.

Massachusetts’s LIHEAP program does not provide financial compensation for cooling expenses. However, it does assist with cooling emergencies if applicants qualify for Crisis Assistance.

About LIHEAP Crisis Assistance

LIHEAP Crisis Assistance, like standard LIHEAP benefits, is a cash grant provided to the utility companies of eligible individuals in certain situations.

If your household meets all the eligibility requirements above and has an energy-related crisis, you may qualify for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance.

The state of Massachusetts defines a “crisis situation” as one where a household is in danger of having their utilities disconnected.

A “life-threatening crisis situation” also qualifies a household for Crisis Assistance. This occurs when:

  • A household has already had their utilities disconnected by their service provider.
  • A household has a heating system failure.

For qualifying households, the maximum annual benefit amount for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance is a one-time payment of $600.

Learn more about Crisis Assistance on page 12 of the Detailed Model Plan here.

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in Massachusetts?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Community Action Partnership Association of Massachusetts will consider:

  1. Your household size and income for the month prior to your application
  2. The fuel type you need (electricity, propane, natural gas, coal, wood and heating oil)

Also, whether you are eligible for regular LIHEAP payments or Crisis Assistance payments will influence your maximum benefit amount.

As of 2022, the maximum annual benefit amount for heating in Massachusetts is $600 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $250.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in Massachusetts

To qualify for LIHEAP in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a resident of the state
  • At least one household member must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  • Have an out-of-pocket energy expense from an account opened in the name of the head of the household or their spouse
  • Have an annual income that is less than the LIHEAP income limit for your household size, which is no more than 150 percent of the established Federal Poverty Level. To view the annual income limits, click here.

The Community Action Partnership Association of Massachusetts prioritizes households with elderly, disabled or young members. Elderly is considered 60 years or older, and young is considered five years old or younger.

Learn more about the LIHEAP financial eligibility requirements in Massachusetts here.

If you or a member of your family participates in the benefit programs below, then you may automatically be eligible for LIHEAP based on your income:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more here.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Learn more here.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Learn more here.

How to Apply for LIHEAP in Massachusetts

Eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP assistance from November 1 until April 30 each year. LIHEAP applications cannot be submitted year-round.

To apply for LIHEAP in Massachusetts, complete the following three steps:

  1. Gather the documentation and information you will need for the application.

Learn what documents and information you need to complete the process by calling your nearest CAP office. Find contact information here.

  1. Choose how you are going to apply, whether by phone or in person. 

Find your nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) office and contact information here.

  1. Submit your request for assistance and other required documents.

Massachusetts does not have a LIHEAP application. The CAP office will take your information verbally.

Note that applications for Crisis Assistance, for households that meet the state definition of a crisis, can be submitted year-round.

If you have questions about the application process or require assistance, contact your nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) office. Find your nearest CAP office here.

What You Will Need to Apply

When applying for Massachusetts LIHEAP benefits, you will need to provide:

  • Personal and financial information about yourself and the members of your household
  • Details about your home and its heating

The state will need the following documents and information to confirm your eligibility for LIHEAP benefits:

  • Names, birth dates and Social Security numbers for all household members
  • Utility bill information (vendor name and account number)
  • Residence information (landlord’s name, address and phone number, if renting)
  • Income verification for the last three months (pay stubs)

Learn more about the documentation needed during the LIHEAP application process by calling your nearest CAP office. Find contact information here.

How to Check Your Application Status

You can call the Community Action Partnership office where you applied directly to check your application status.

Click here to find your local office and contact information.

What Happens After You Apply for LIHEAP in Massachusetts?

The Community Action Partnership Association of Massachusetts will notify you within 30 days of receiving your application if you are approved to receive benefits. If you are eligible for crisis assistance, an emergency response will occur within 18 to 24 hours. All LIHEAP payments are made to the heating or energy provider directly. Benefit payments will not be sent to you.

How to Appeal a Denial of Benefits

If you are denied Massachusetts LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision by writing a statement to your local Community Action Partnership (CAP) office where you applied within 20 days of when you received the denial. Find your nearest local CAP office here.

If the CAP representative cannot resolve the dispute, you can request a hearing with the Department of Housing and Community Development. To begin this process, complete the back of your decision notice and fax it to (617) 573-1515 or mail it to:
DHCD Division of Hearings
100 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114

Once the Department of Housing and Community Development receives the appeal, they will set up a hearing and notify you of the date, time and location.

If you have questions about the appeal process, contact the Department of Housing and Community Development:

  • Phone: (617) 573-1100
  • TTY: (617) 573-1140 

Need More Help?

If you have questions about LIHEAP benefits in Massachusetts or require further assistance, contact your local Community Action Partnership office. Find your nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) office and contact information here.

Or, you can call the Cold Relief Hotline at (800) 632-8175. You can also call the Department of Housing and Community Development phone line at (617) 573-1100 or reach them by mail at:
Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300
Boston, MA 02114

View or Download Our Free Guide

While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and compiled a guide that we believe is simple to use and easy to understand. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing detailed information on the process.

Our free LIHEAP Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply for LIHEAP, program eligibility and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.

Last Updated: September 19, 2022