The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available in all states across the country, including Montana. It is a federal aid program designed to lower the costs associated with energy and utility bills. This utility assistance program is administered at the state level, so program benefits and guidelines vary across the country. Montana LIHEAP is referred to as LIEAP, though it offers many of the same benefits as other states. The program helps low-income individuals and families pay for essential energy and utility bills. Renters and homeowners struggling to pay heating bills may be eligible to receive financial assistance through this program. To qualify, applicants must show proof of meeting the requirements set by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). The LIHEAP eligibility conditions require candidates to have incomes that fall within a specified range. Likewise, all enrollees must reside in Montana.
To be sure of their eligibility status, all candidates must apply for financial assistance. Program benefits and qualifications of this program vary between states, so it is important that Montana residents check their eligibility status during the application process. To learn more about the program and to see if you qualify for assistance, continue reading the sections below.
Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Montana
Montana heating assistance is available to low-income residents during the winter months. The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) offers various programs designed to lower the cost of energy usage. The program for which an applicant qualifies depends on his or her household size, income level, energy consumption and energy costs. The only way to determine eligibility status is to submit an application.
Utility bill assistance for low income families is offered through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIEAP. Approved enrollees receive partial payment coverage for winter energy bills. Likewise, many utility companies partner with this program to provide discounts on utility bills for qualifying Montana residents. The program runs from October through April. The benefits paid by this program are not cash gifts distributed to applicants. The financial assistance is paid directly to the provider rather than to the client.
The LIHEAP program in Montana offers the Weatherization Program. Low-income homeowners and renters may be eligible for this program, which improves the heating efficiency of their homes and reduces the overall cost of their energy consumption. Weatherization services include insulation, weather stripping, caulking and more.
Another facet of energy assistance offered through the DPHHS is reserved for emergencies. Residents living with a broken or ill-functioning furnace or water heater may be eligible for free repairs or replacement. This emergency energy aid program applies year-round.
Get more information on the help available to you in our energy assistance guide.
What are the Montana LIHEAP requirements?
The MT LIHEAP guidelines are determined by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) each year. Before receiving assistance, all applicants must provide documentation of meeting these guidelines. There are certain LIHEAP income guidelines that families must meet according to the size of their household. Additionally, candidates must provide information about the type of fuel used, energy consumption, energy costs and the condition of their heating system. Program eligibility is determined after residents have completed the steps to apply for energy assistance.
To confirm LIHEAP eligibility status, the state reviews the application and all supplemental documents. There are a few standard guidelines that apply to the program. For example, all candidates applying for the program must reside in Montana. They must provide proof of either renting or owning a home. Applicants must also demonstrate a need for assistance.
Also, LIHEAP qualifications apply to all applicants’ income. Enrollees must report all types of income from the last six months to be considered for the program. Income includes (but is not limited to):
- Wages, tips and salaries
- TANF and SNAP benefits
- Educational grants
- Property income
- Worker’s compensation
- Social Security benefits and financial aid
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Montana
How you apply for energy assistance in Montana depends on a number of factors, including whether you live in a tribal reservation. If this is the case, there are special rules that apply to your program eligibility and application procedure. Likewise, your tribal designation may affect the manner in which you receive program benefits.
You cannot apply for LIHEAP online, as there is no electronic application option available. The only way to submit an application for financial assistance is by visiting an office in person. The type of office you must visit depends on whether you belong to a tribe.
You may be able to fill out the LIHEAP application online, but you will need to download and print at your convenience. The application requires you to submit in-depth information about everyone in your household. Be sure to fill the form out completely before bringing it to the office. If your application is missing information or is otherwise incomplete, you may be denied coverage or experience a delayed approval process.
You should also call and schedule an appointment at the location nearest you to avoid long wait times. Also, you must apply for benefits between October and April. However, if you need emergency fuel assistance, you may apply any time of the year.
The LIHEAP application form requires you to submit information about everyone in your household. This includes:
- Proof of current address
- Proof of identity
- Proof of income
- Copies of recent energy bills
- Information about type of fuel used
- Tribal information (if applicable)
How much could LIHEAP pay in Montana?
The amount of financial assistance provided through the program depends on a number of factors, including household size, type of fuel used, energy costs and household type. Energy assistance benefits are paid directly to the supplier on behalf of the household, not to the applicant. The specific amount of financial assistance is only determined once the state processes the application.
LIHEAP in Montana is not meant to cover the entire heating cost, nor does it have limitless benefit amounts. The state determines the minimum and maximum coverage amounts allowed by the program each year.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
To apply for LIHEAP in Montana, candidates must apply in person at one of the state’s physical office locations. States must take time to review all candidates’ applications and verify the information provided. Because applicants cannot apply for LIHEAP online, there is no way to track the status of an application on the web. However, those interested in learning whether their file has been processed can try contacting the office for more information.
The state takes an average of approximately 45 days to review your application. In some cases, the state may request additional information to approve or decline the application. It is best to apply early to give yourself the best chances of experiencing an expedited approval process.
Learn more about LIHEAP by downloading our comprehensive program guide.