The Minnesota Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income families and individuals receive government assistance to afford their home heating and energy bills. Also known as the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), the plan is governed by the Minnesota Commerce Department. It is a federal aid program offered in each U.S. state, although the specific name and benefits of the program vary across the nation. The financial assistance plan was created to keep low-income renters and homeowners warm in the winter by avoiding utility shut-offs.
Candidates for the program must meet all the designated income, family size and household requirements set by the Commerce Department. To qualify for the LIHEAP program in Minnesota, applicants must provide proof of meeting all these requirements during the application process. Their incomes must fall within the stated eligibility guidelines. Likewise, enrollees must be residents of Minnesota and must be able to demonstrate a financial need for fuel assistance.
Everyone interested in the program must apply for LIHEAP to determine if they qualify for aid. Completing an application is the only way to determine eligibility status. To learn more about this financial aid program and to see if you qualify for reduced energy costs, continue reading the sections discussed below.
Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Minnesota
Minnesota heating assistance is just one of several government aid programs that benefit low-income renters and homeowners. The state Commerce Department oversees the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) and reviews all applications to determine eligibility. These programs are designed to lower the cost of home energy usage, whether through financial assistance or energy efficiency updates. Utility bill assistance for low income families is granted to those who meet all the income, household size and household type requirements.
Minnesota residents can receive utility assistance through the EAP. In this program, enrollees receive financial assistance toward the payment of home heating and energy bills. A portion of their bill is directly paid by the program to the fuel provider. Applicants do not receive this cash directly.
Another LIHEAP program that helps reduce the cost of utilities is the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP. Enrollees who qualify for this program can receive free home energy upgrades to make their living space more energy efficient. This reduces the amount of energy used, therefore cutting the cost of home heating bills. Services include insulation, air leakage reduction and furnace, boiler or water heater replacement/repairs.
Low-income renters or homeowners without heat may be eligible to receive emergency fuel deliveries during the winter months. The EAP has emergency procedures to stop shut-offs for qualified enrollees. Households with at-risk family members, such as elderly persons, children or those with disabilities, may qualify automatically.
Learn more about the types of LIHEAP programs available by downloading our free guide.
What are the Minnesota LIHEAP requirements?
Applicants must meet LIHEAP income guidelines in Minnesota in addition to family size and household requirements. Each state determines the program’s eligibility requirements and sets specific guidelines for applicants. Likewise, the program benefits may vary slightly across the country. LIHEAP guidelines in Minnesota are set by the Commerce Department, which considers these factors during the application process. Candidates must submit certain documents that reveal information about their income, residency, household size and structure type. The Department grants LIHEAP eligibility upon reviewing these documents and confirming that the information is true.
There are LIHEAP qualifications regarding income, which must be reported to the department during the application process. All types of income must be revealed, including:
- Wages and salaries
- Social Security benefits
- Retirement/pension benefits
- Child support and alimony
- Worker’s compensation
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Minnesota
Candidates must apply for LIHEAP in order to determine whether they qualify for assistance in Minnesota. Submitting an application to their local provider is the only way applicants can find their eligibility status. Applying for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) may be done independently of other programs. Alternatively, candidates may submit a joint application to be considered for a variety of assistance programs.
Applicants cannot apply for LIHEAP online, but they can access the form on the website. All applicants are required to mail a completed application to their local provider, not the Commerce Department. After downloading the LIHEAP application online, candidates may print it out, complete it and mail it to the proper address. It is important that applicants send their information to the provider in their area. Failing to do so places the applicant at risk of a delayed approval process.
All applications must be mailed by the deadline to be considered for approval. During the application process, candidates may need to provide documents that show proof of meeting the qualifications. This may include:
- Proof of identity (i.e. Social Security card or birth certificate)
- Proof of residency (i.e. a property tax bill or lease agreement)
- Proof of income (i.e. a federal tax return)
- Copies of most recent energy and utility bills
Find out more about the LIHEAP application process in our comprehensive guide.
How much could LIHEAP pay in Minnesota?
Through LIHEAP in Minnesota, low-income renters and homeowners receive grants to use toward the payment of energy and utility bills. These grants do not need to be paid back. The specific amount of these grants depends on several factors, such as income, energy cost, usage, family size and the type of fuel used. Energy assistance grants are not issued to the applicant or the household, but rather paid directly to the fuel provider. The grant may not cover the total cost of the bill, in which case the applicant is required to cover the remainder with personal funds.
Each state determines the minimum and maximum benefit amounts. The utility assistance program in Minnesota currently issues average grants of $520 to qualified enrollees. Aside from these grants, the program creates a monthly budget payment plan to help renters and homeowners stay on top of energy bills.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
There is no way to check LIHEAP application status online using the Minnesota portal. Since all applications must be mailed, the online system does not provide status information. However, the Commerce Department notifies all applicants of a decision within one month of receiving the application.
Anyone requiring assistance with the LIHEAP application form may call various help lines to speak to customer service representatives. Likewise, there are many online resources that provide step-by-step application instructions. Applicants must submit all required documents any provide information in each section to be considered for assistance. Incomplete applications will not be processed and applicants risk being denied coverage.