The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Maine helps low-income individuals and families pay for essential energy and utility bills. This energy assistance program is available in all 50 U.S. states, though each one may refer to the program by a different name. In Maine, it is known as the Home Energy Assistance Program, or simply HEAP for short. Low-income homeowners and renters who struggle to pay for heating may be eligible to receive financial assistance through this aid program.
To qualify for HEAP, individuals must provide proof of meeting the eligibility requirements set by the Maine State Housing Authority. To qualify for heating assistance or other utility aid, applicants must have incomes that fall within the designated eligibility guidelines. Likewise, they must be Maine residents. Those who qualify for HEAP may also be eligible for other assistance programs.
All candidates must apply for LIHEAP to determine whether they qualify for financial assistance. The benefits and qualifications of this program vary between states, so it is important that Maine residents check their eligibility status during the application process. For more information about the program and to learn how to apply, continue reading the sections discussed below.
Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Maine
Utility assistance in Maine is made possible through the State Housing Authority’s Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP. Energy bills can really add up, especially during the harsh winter months. Utility bill assistance for low income families is offered through HEAP in a variety of ways. Depending on an applicant’s income, residence type and household size, he or she may qualify for several assistance programs, grants or other aid types.
Approved enrollees may qualify for reduced fuel delivery. Typically, HEAP benefits are paid directly to the fuel supplier on behalf of the household. The exact amount of benefits a household receives depends on their income and household size.
The LIHEAP program in Maine also has a weatherization program open to qualifying enrollees. Through this plan, low-income renters and homeowners receive grants to help make their homes more energy efficient. This includes services like weather stripping, caulking, insulation and other measures.
Applicants who qualify for HEAP may also qualify for the Low Income Assistance Plan (LIAP). This program provides a credit on an enrollee’s electric bill to help lower energy costs. Eligibility for LIAP may depend on the area in which the enrollee lives and the service provider covering that area.
Another energy assistance program offered through HEAP is the Central Heating Improvement Program, or CHIP. Low-income households in need of heating repair or replacement may qualify for this program. Families living in a house or apartment without heat are given priority.
HEAP also offers the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). Households in need of emergency fuel may qualify for this assistance program during the months of November through April.
Learn about all the LIHEAP programs available by downloading our free guide.
What are the Maine LIHEAP requirements?
There are certain Maine LIHEAP income guidelines that all applicants must meet to qualify for benefits. In addition to income requirements, the state sets certain conditions regarding the size of the household, structure of the household and condition of the heating or cooling system. LIHEAP eligibility in Maine is determined during the application process. Applicants must submit proof of meeting all the program guidelines. The Maine State Housing Authority determines who qualifies for HEAP upon reviewing the application and supplemental materials.
There are many LIHEAP guidelines set by the state. Firstly, anyone applying for the program must live in a Maine residence for at least five months of what is known as the “heating season” (October to April). In some cases, low-income families who have recently moved to the state may be able to get a waiver for this requirement. Also, an apartment must have its own bathroom and a full kitchen that includes a refrigerator, stove and sink.
There are also LIHEAP qualifications regarding income. All types of income must be reported during the LIHEAP application process. Income includes (but is not limited to):
- Wages and salaries
- Unemployment benefits
- Alimony and child support
- Worker’s compensation
- Social Security
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Maine
To apply for energy assistance in Maine, all candidates for the HEAP program must visit a Community Action Agency (CAA). These offices are located throughout the state. Candidates cannot apply for LIHEAP online, as there is no electronic application available. Visiting an office in person is the only way to apply for benefits.
You can access a sample LIHEAP application online before visiting a CAA. This is a great way to prepare yourself for the application process. The sample form includes much of the same information you will see on the official application. Do not print and complete the sample; official applications are only available in person at an office located in the state.
To complete a LIHEAP application form at one of the CAA offices, you must call and schedule an appointment. It is important to call the office that services your area. Scheduling an appointment at the wrong office location may result in a forfeit of your application and require you to resubmit it.
You must apply for benefits before the heating season, beginning in mid-August and ending in April. However, if you need emergency fuel assistance, apply between November and March. You may need to submit a variety of documents proving your eligibility for the program. This includes:
- Proof of current address (i.e. a property tax bill or lease agreement)
- Proof of identity (i.e. Social Security card or birth certificate)
- Proof of income (i.e. a W-2 or federal tax return)
- Copies of recent energy bills
- Information about type of fuel used
Learn more about the LIHEAP application process in our free comprehensive guide.
How much could LIHEAP pay in Maine?
The amount covered by Maine LIHEAP depends on a number of factors, including household size, type of fuel used, energy costs and household type. Typically, customers are allowed to choose the provider from which they receive their fuel. Energy assistance benefits are then paid directly to the supplier on behalf of the household. The specific amount of coverage is not identified until after the state processes the application.
The HEAP program is designed to ease the financial burden of heating and utility bills. It does not cover everything; rather, it cuts the cost of fuel dramatically for eligible participants. There are minimum and maximum coverage amounts allowed by the program. For the 2018 fiscal year, beneficiaries can expect to receive financial assistance in amounts anywhere from $156 to $2,668.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
All candidates must apply for LIHEAP in Maine at one of the state’s physical office locations. During the appointment, state officials will review the applicant’s information to determine if he or she is eligible for assistance. Because applicants cannot apply for LIHEAP online, there is no way to track the status of an application on the web.
Most enrollees will receive a decision about their eligibility on the same day of their application appointment. If for some reason a decision cannot be reached on the same day, applicants interested in learning the status of their application may consider calling the number of the office they visited. Officials will notify them of their LIHEAP application status and explain if there are any other steps they must take to complete the process.