LIHEAP in Maryland
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Maryland LIHEAP is a government assistance program designed to ease the financial burden of home energy and utility costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available in every U.S. state, although each one establishes the program with different titles. Maryland’s Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) is the blanket term for a variety of aid programs. The energy assistance programs offered through OHEP are open to low-income individuals and families who need help paying for heating, cooling and other utilities. Both renters and homeowners may qualify for these programs.
To be eligible for these programs, individuals must meet certain requirements set by the Maryland Department of Human Services. Utility assistance aid programs are reserved for applicants whose incomes meet the designated eligibility guidelines set by the state.
Every household interested in assistance must apply for the LIHEAP program in order to see whether they are eligible for financial assistance. Each state is responsible for setting the program standards, benefits and coverage amounts. Thus, program requirements vary across the country. To learn more about the program, including how to apply and check the status of your eligibility, continue reading the sections discussed below.
Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Maryland
Maryland energy assistance is offered through the Office of Home Energy Programs, or OHEP. The program, which is reserved for low-income individuals and families, provides financial assistance for heating, cooling and electric costs. Utility assistance is available to qualifying Maryland enrollees through a variety of programs distributed under OHEP. To be eligible for any of these programs, the applicant must submit documents that show income, residence type and household size.
OHEP provides heating assistance to eligible enrollees to help reduce the costs of energy bills. The Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) provides enrollees with financial assistance to cut the cost of home heating. The benefits of the program are paid to the fuel supplier rather than the applicant. The applicant is then responsible for any remaining balance once the credit is applied. The exact amount of coverage a household receives depends on specific income and the size of the household.
The Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) is another form of government aid designed to lower the cost of electric bills. Through this program beneficiaries pay equal monthly payments rather than varying amounts.
Maryland LIHEAP also offers Utility Service Protection Program (USPP). This helps protect low-income families from having their utilities shut off during the heating season. Everyone who qualifies for MEAP is eligible for this program.
OHEP also has a weatherization program available to certain participants. Low-income homeowners and renters are eligible to receive grants to make their living space more energy efficient. It is designed to implement new measures to lower the cost of utility bills. Weatherization includes services like insulation, caulking and weather stripping.
Those who apply for LIHEAP may discover they also qualify for Arrearage Retirement Assistance. This program helps enrollees reduce the amount of past bills. Those who have large electric and gas bills that are past due may be forgiven up to a certain amount.
Find out more about the different LIHEAP programs in our free guide.
What are the Maryland LIHEAP eligibility guidelines?
Maryland sets specific LIHEAP eligibility requirements that all applicants must meet in order to enroll in any OHEP program. In addition to LIHEAP income guidelines, applicants are held to certain conditions regarding household size, house structure and condition of the heating or cooling system they are using. The only way to determine eligibility for any of the OHEP programs is to apply. All candidates must provide proof of having met the program guidelines.
LIHEAP guidelines are determined by the Maryland Department of Human Services. To receive a grant through any one of the OHEP programs, applicants must demonstrate a financial need. Furthermore, the amount of the grant depends on the type and amount of fuel used. Grants do not need to be paid back to the state.
The LIHEAP qualifications for income are also determined by the state. The Department of Human Services requires applicants to include all types of income during the application process. This includes:
- Gross income
- Self-employment income
- Social Security benefits
- Retirement/pension benefits
- TANF benefits
- Strike pay
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Maryland
To apply for LIHEAP, Maryland residents have many options. Applicants can access the LIHEAP application online and complete the process electronically for the most convenient method. Candidates for the program must create a personal account online with their name, the names of all beneficiaries, address and other identification information.
Candidates who apply for LIHEAP online may also apply for other assistance programs in one sitting. The web portal is connected to the Department of Human Services.
You may also download a LIHEAP application form online, print it out, complete it and drop it off to an office location around the state. Alternatively, you can request a form by mail, complete it and bring it to an office location. If you require assistance during the application process, you may apply in person at your local office. It is best to call and make an appointment ahead of time to avoid long wait times.
You may apply year-round but are required to renew your benefits each year to continue receiving aid. During the application process, you must provide proof of meeting the requirements of the program. Documents include:
- Photo identification
- Proof of residence (i.e. a mortgage statement or lease agreement)
- Copies of Social Security cards for all family members or household residents
- 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 downloadable guide.
How much does LIHEAP pay in Maryland?
In Maryland, LIHEAP is provided through several different programs. Each program provides financial assistance toward heating, cooling or electric bills. The Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) distributes grants to approved candidates to reduce the cost of utilities. The exact amount of these grants depends on a number of factors, such as income, fuel type, household size, energy costs and household type.
Home energy assistance benefits are not paid to the applicant, but rather to the fuel or utility supplier on behalf of the household. Those enrolled in electricity assistance receive a credit toward their overall bill. Grant amounts are not identified until the state reviews the application and all included documents.
Maryland’s LIHEAP program helps lower the cost of heating, cooling and electricity. Financial assistance offered through OHEP plans varies between applicants. Currently, approved candidates receive grants between $120 and $2,213.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
Applicants can check their LIHEAP application status using the online system provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS). No matter how candidates choose to apply (online, in person, by mail, etc.) they can track their application online. To do this, applicants must enter their last name, the last four digits of their Social Security number and their date of birth. Please note that applicants must wait at least 15 days before checking their application status.
Applicants who cannot access their LEAP application status using the online system may need to call the DHS. Customer service representatives can help applicants find the status of their files and provide them with more information or further steps they need to take.