Low-income families and individuals in Massachusetts may receive help from fuel assistance, which is also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federal government program is focused on assisting with utility bills, in particular during the wintertime.
Fuel assistance is offered from LIHEAP for low-income tenants and homeowners in Massachusetts. Your household income and number of family members will need to be considered when applying for LIHEAP. Eligibility for funds will be based on your household gross annual income, as well as what percentage of that income you pay towards your utility bills. Other factors will be considered as well. If you rent a home or apartment in Massachusetts, you may still receive fuel assistance even if your heating costs are included in the rent.
The main reason that the fuel assistance program was created was so that low-income people in Massachusetts, and across the nation, would not have to choose between paying their utility bills or buying the food or other things they need. An emergency component can assist with stopping disconnections as well.
The amount paid out by the Low income Energy Assistance Program will vary. It depends on your heating costs, amount of utility bills, household income, and your housing status. Some families in Massachusetts may be able to qualify for extra financial help if the amount of their utility bills last year were very high.
Most Massachusetts families will also benefit from other government aid. For example, many people who receive LIHEAP may also qualify for energy conservation, weatherization services, heating system repairs, Citizens Energy heat assistance programs, and discount utility rates.
Each Massachusetts town and county will have social service agencies that people need to apply at. Call the agency in charge of the fuel assistance/LIHEAP program in your area. Interested individuals may also call the Massachusetts Heat Line toll-free at 1-800-632-8175 for applications or additional information. Some local offices are listed below.
If you are able to enroll in LIHEAP, then your local fuel assistance or community action agency will notify your heating company of the fact that you will receive help from the government. The social service agency will then pay your fuel assistance benefit directly to your utility company, unless your heat is included in your rent, in which case your landlord will be paid. Local non-profit community action organizations take applications, make payments, determine eligibility for aid, and handle all other matters concerning LIHEAP.
Other government programs that are offered throughout Massachusetts in combination with LIHEAP include Weatherization Assistance Program. This is free to qualified families and will help them lower their utility and fuel bills. HEARTWAP is for heating system repair or replacement. MassSAVE may also be offered, and this utility assistance program can help people lower their energy bills by switching to more energy-efficient water heaters, refrigerators, lighting, installing insulation, and making other energy-saving home improvements. So clients of LIHEAP will also receive access to programs that can help them save money.
LIHEAP agencies in Massachusetts include
HomeBASE, South Shore Housing Development Corporation, 169 Summer Street, Kingston, MA 02364, dial (781) 422-4200
Emergency Shelter Assistance, Brockton TAO, 75 Commercial Street, Brockton, MA 02302, call 508-895-7000
Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), 19 Temple Place Boston, MA 02111, call (617) 357-6000
Housing Consumer Education Center, South Shore Housing Development Corporation, 169 Summer Street, Kingston, MA 02364, phone number is (781) 422-4200
Abington Housing Authority, 71 Shaw Avenue, Abington, MA 02351, dial 781-878-5219
Community Action Agency, Self Help, Inc., 780 West Main Street, Avon ,MA 02322, main number 508-588-0447
Fuel Assistance, Self Help, Inc. (SHI), 1362 Main Street, Brockton, MA 02301, (508) 588-5440
Or call Self Help, Inc. in Attleboro at (508) 226-4192