The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Massachusetts is more commonly known as Fuel Assistance. Through the Fuel Assistance programs, low-income residents and families receive financial relief to help pay heating, cooling and utility bills. The energy assistance plans included in this government assistance program help lower the costs of home energy. The program is offered in all 50 U.S. states. Each one is responsible for implementing the program how it sees fit, often referring to it by alternate names.
Massachusetts provides a variety of aid programs designed to assist low-income residents throughout the state. The Department of Housing and Community Development oversees these programs. Utility assistance is available to low-income residents who struggle to pay heating, cooling and other energy bills. The programs are open to homeowners and renters, even those whose heating bills are included in rental payments. To qualify for these programs, individuals must meet all the requirements.
All candidates must apply for LIHEAP to determine their eligibility status and receive assistance. The program is available in each state and covers various benefits, requirements and application procedures. For more information about the program and to learn how to apply, continue reading the sections below.
Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Massachusetts
Massachusetts offers energy assistance, utility aid and other forms of help through various programs contained under Fuel Assistance. The LIHEAP program was created to help low-income homeowners and renters afford the cost of heating, cooling and powering their homes. There are a few programs open to qualifying Massachusetts enrollees. To start receiving assistance through any of these programs, applicants must apply and show documents that prove income, household size, fuel costs and household type.
Heating assistance is provided under the Fuel Assistance program to help low-income residents during the winter months. Heating costs tend to spike during the months of November to April. The program provides aid to eligible enrollees to help reduce the costs of home energy bills. Fuel assistance benefits are not paid directly to the applicants. Instead, the program pays the fuel provider directly.
Another form of utility bill assistance for low income families is provided through the Heartwrap program, which provides funds to repair or replace broken heating units. Residents living without heat are given first priority through this program. This program runs year-round and provides maintenance to eligible applicants.
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and families improve the energy efficiency of their homes. When heating and cooling costs spike, the problem may be due to poor insulation and improper sealing. Enrollees receive grants from the state to help make their home, apartment or other domicile more energy efficient. The program helps reduce energy costs by providing a variety of weatherization services, like weather stripping, insulation, air sealing and other repairs.
Find out more about LIHEAP assistance programs by downloading our free guide.
What are the Massachusetts LIHEAP requirements?
Massachusetts has various LIHEAP guidelines that applicants are held to in order to receive financial assistance through one of these programs. Each state is responsible for determining the rules and regulations of the program. Candidates must apply for LIHEAP to determine if they meet all the requirements of the program.
Aside from LIHEAP income guidelines, all candidates must meet household size, type and structure conditions. These factors are used to determine eligibility for one of the Fuel Assistance programs as well as coverage amounts and financial assistance.
To receive financial assistance through one of the aid programs offered in the state, candidates must provide proof of having a financial need. Any aid distributed by the state for purposes of energy or fuel assistance does not need to be repaid.
The LIHEAP qualifications regarding income vary across the country. The Department of Housing and Community Development reviews the income requirements each year and makes any changes to reflect cost of living and other factors. During the application process, candidates for these programs must report all types of income for household members age 18 or older to determine their eligibility. Income includes:
- Earned wages and salaries
- Self-employment income
- Contract income
- Retirement benefits
- Unemployment insurance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Massachusetts
All candidates must submit a LIHEAP application form in order to determine the type of program for which they are eligible. First-time candidates must apply for LIHEAP in person at one of the offices located throughout the state. It is recommended that all applicants call and schedule an appointment at the location nearest them to avoid long wait times.
Applicants cannot apply for LIHEAP online, as the website does not provide electronic application forms. Visiting an office in person is the only way to apply for benefits. After the first year of benefits expires, enrollees receive a renewal application by mail. Applicants must apply at an office that covers their district.
You can apply for LIHEAP from November until April. Be sure to bring all the required documents to your application appointment. Officials must verify the information you provide by reviewing several types of documents, such as:
- Proof of residence (i.e. a mortgage or lease agreement)
- Proof of identity (i.e. Social Security card or birth certificate)
- Proof of income (i.e. a federal tax return)
- Copies of recent utility and energy bills
- Information about type of fuel used
Learn more about the LIHEAP application process by downloading our comprehensive guide.
How much could LIHEAP pay in Massachusetts?
The LIHEAP program in MA includes a range of financial assistance programs designed to lower the cost of heating, cooling and utility bills. Each program included under the Fuel Assistance name has designated requirements that applicants must meet to receive benefits. The benefits are paid directly to the service provider. Benefit amounts vary, as each applicant must submit documents showing their income and family size. The amount of coverage also depends on the condition of the heating or cooling unit, house structure and current energy costs.
Home energy assistance benefits are not paid to the applicant, but rather to the fuel provider or utility supplier on behalf of the applicant. Exact benefits are determined during the application process. Candidates who are denied coverage may appeal the decision with an energy provider in their immediate area.
The utility assistance programs provided through Fuel Assistance in Massachusetts are not meant to eliminate home heating and cooling costs. Low-income enrollees struggling to pay their bills can receive financial assistance that helps lower these costs to an affordable amount. Currently, approved candidates receive benefits between $375 and $850.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
Candidates cannot apply for energy assistance online, so checking the status of the application is also not available in a web format. Applicants must appear in person at the energy assistance agency closest to where they live.
To check your LIHEAP application status, you must reach out to the specific agency with which you applied. The representative will be able to assist you with verifying the status of your file. You may need to provide identification information, such as your name, date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN).