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Montana Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)

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1. What is the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)?
The State of Montana, through the Department of Public Health and Human Services, offers two programs aimed at helping Montanans reduce their heating costs.  The Weatherization Program helps participants to improve the heating efficiency of their homes and thus reduce their energy consumption.  The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) pays part of winter energy bills for eligible people. 

 

2. Who can get help from LIEAP?
Energy Assistance is available to many households with lower incomes, including homeowners and renters.

If your household receives benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, you may qualify automatically for weatherization or fuel assistance.

 

3. How do I find out who my Energy Assistance eligibility office is?
There is an Energy Assistance eligibility office that serves every county [and each reservation community independently] in Montana. To find the Energy Assistance eligibility office for your county, click here or call the Montana Citizen's Advocate toll-free at 1-800-332-2272.

 

4. How do LIEAP and the Weatherization Program work?
Weatherization Assistance: approved applications are ranked according to degree of need and placed in "priority groups."  Special priority is given to older adults and disabled individuals.  An energy auditor will set up a time to visit with you about your home's needs for weatherization materials.  The auditor utilizes a computer program to determine the most cost-effective weatherization measures for your home--which may include a furnace tune-up, caulking, education, insulation, weather-stripping, storm windows, or repair of exterior doors.  When you are determined eligible for LIEAP, a payment will be generated to your fuel vendor. The payment is calculated to cover a portion of your winter energy costs. You are responsible to pay that portion of your energy costs not covered by LIEAP.

 

5. How much will LIEAP or the Weatherization Program pay?
The Weatherization Program will provide materials and in some instances a crew or independent contractor to complete the necessary work to your home.  For those who qualify for fuel bill assistance, the payment amount is figured according to your household income, size and type of your home, and the kind and cost of fuel.  Most often payments are made directly to your utility company or fuel supplier.

 

6. How do I get an application?
The application is called the “Low-Income Energy Assistance and Weatherization Program Application."  Applications are available at various energy assistance eligibility offices throughout the state--including Human Resource Development Councils (HRDCs), the North Central Area Agency on Aging, and Tribal Energy Assistance Offices for tribal members living on reservations.  You may pick one up from your energy assistance eligibility office or have it mailed to you.  You can also access the application on the Montana Department of Health and Human Services website by clicking here during the heating season (October 1 through April 30).  You can also get an application on this website by clicking here. However, applications are NOT accepted from June 1 to September 30. In addition, a new application is issued each year and it is not available until September of that year.

 

7. What is the application like?
The application is 8 pages long, including directions. It asks about who lives with you, your sources of income, and who provides your heat and electricity. You can fill out the application yourself or you can get help from your energy assistance eligibility office. When it is complete, turn it in to your energy assistance eligibility office.

 

8. What else do I have to provide to apply for LIEAP or Weatherization Assistance?
For all the adults who live in your home, you will have to provide proof of all income for the time period specified on the application (such as copies of check stubs, your 1040 federal tax form, or proof of other income including Social Security, unemployment, insurance, pension funds, disability payments, etc.). You will also have to send a copy of your most recent heating bill and electric bill. Be sure to sign and date your application and include all the required information or your application will not be accepted.

 

9. Can I apply for LIEAP if I am behind on my heat payments or my heat has already been shut off?
You must have an active open account to receive LIEAP. If you are behind on your payments, be sure to tell your energy assistance eligibility office when you apply.

 

10. Do I have to go in person to apply?
No. There is no interview required for the Energy Assistance Program. But you can go to your energy assistance eligibility office in person if you need help filling out the application.

 

11. How soon will I be able to get on the program?
It depends how soon your energy assistance eligibility office can process your application. Remember, applications are accepted October 1 through April 30. 

 

12. Once I have applied for LIEAP, can I stop paying my heating bill?
No. You have to keep paying your heating bill. If it is too much for you to pay, call your heating company and arrange a payment plan that you can pay. Otherwise you may have your heat turned off. Even once you get help from LIEAP, you still have to pay your part of the heating bill. LIEAP only pays part of your bill.

 

13. Is there a waiting list for LIEAP or Weatherization Assistance?
There is no waiting list for LIEAP but there is for weatherization. LIEAP households with the highest energy burdens receive priority for weatherization.

 

14. What do I have to do to stay on the program?
Once you have been accepted for Energy Assistance, you will get help for the heating season if accepted for LIEAP. In the fall, you will have to reapply again if you want to get help from the Energy Assistance Program.

 

15. Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to get help from LIEAP?
No. You do not need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal immigrant status. You will be asked to provide Social Security Numbers on the application but you are not required to provide Social Security Numbers for anyone in the household.

 

16. To get help from the LIEAP, does it matter how long I have lived in Montana?
No.  You will be asked on the application how long you have lived in Montana, and if you lived in the state for less than one year, what date you moved to Montana. 

 

17. Are there any resource limits for LIEAP? What are resources?
Yes.  Resources are money in a checking or savings account or any other items of value that you own.

 

18. What is the resource limit for LIEAP?
The resource limit for LIEAP varies by family size.  The total amount of countable resources allowable to qualify for assistance from LIEAP:

  • 1 person household: $18,953
  • 2 person household: $25,498
  • 3 person household: $32,043
  • 4 person household: $38,588
  • 5 person household: $45,133
  • 6 person household: $51,678
  • 7 person household: $58,223

Business equity income resource limit is not to exceed $12,500.

 

19. What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
Weatherization Assistance is a program that pays for improvements to your home to keep more heat in. By making these improvements (such as adding attic insulation, caulking or weather stripping), it will cost less to heat your home. Anyone who can get Energy Assistance can also get help with Weatherization assistance (including renters and homeowners). The application for Energy Assistance in Montana covers both Low Income Energy Assistance and the Weatherization Program.

 

20. What will happen if my heat gets shut off?
If your heat gets shut off, it will cost more money (a reconnection fee) to have it turned back on. Your energy company may also require an additional deposit before they will turn on the heat. .

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