Three Minnesota Programs to Ease Home Heat Bills
It’s not here yet, but it will be. Winter’s chill—and home heat bills. It is illegal for anyone to shut off your home heat from October – April, thanks to the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule, and there are programs to help you pay your home heat bills.
PHS recommends three programs for Minnesotans to ease utility bill burdens and help weatherize homes before winter.
Review this information and see which ones make the most sense for you. You may also call PHS Clinical Social Worker Monica Oberg at 651-789-9215 for help in applying to the programs.
1. Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay your heat costs whether you own or rent your living space.
- Applications accepted: October 1, 2010 – May 31, 2011
- Grant size of grant is based on household size, income, fuel type and energy use
- EAP pays your energy supplier directly, educates you about more efficient home heat use and can help with emergency heating system repair or replacement
How to apply for Minnesota EAP funds
- Call 1-800-657-3710 or find your EAP provider here to get your application, or contact PHS Social Worker Monica Oberg at 651-789-9215 for help with the application process.
Am I eligible for Energy Assistance?
- Households that are at or below 50 percent of the state median income qualify for EAP. To see if you are eligible, use your past three months of total household income or last year’s federal tax return and the number of people living in your household. If it’s at or lower than the figures on this chart, you are eligible for EAP
*Based on 50% of State Median Income or 110% of Poverty, whichever is greater.
For each additional household member add $4,114 to annual income and $1,028 to 3-month income.
2. Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) uses energy conservation steps to reduce home energy use and costs for the living space you own or rent.
- WAP provides energy audits; wall and attic insulation, air infiltration and bypass sealing; testing, repair and replacement of home mechanical systems; homeowner education about energy efficiency
How to apply for Minnesota WAP funds
- Find your WAP provider here or call PHS Social Worker Monica Handlos at 651-789-9215 for help with the application process.
Am I eligible for Weatherization Assistance?
- Households where one or more members have received TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) within the last 12 months are eligible for WAP.
- Households at or below 200% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines are income eligible for WAP
- Priority is given to households with at least one elderly or disabled member and to customers with the highest heating costs. To see if you are eligible, use your past three months of total household income or last year’s federal tax return and the number of people living in your household. If it’s at or lower than the figures on this chart, you are eligible for WAP.
*Based on 200% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
For each additional household member add $7,480 to annual income and $1,870 to 3-month income.
3. HeatShare provides emergency assistance with heating and utility bills year-round. Funds are used for natural gas, oil, propane, wood, electricity and emergency furnace repairs. HeatShare is a voluntary non governmental program of The Salvation Army.
- Provides budget counseling, financial assistance, family counseling, social service information and referrals, plus energy conservation and education
- Helps seniors with low incomes and no alternate source of help, people with disabilities whose physical capabilities limit their ability to maintain income to adequately cover energy bills and people with unexpected emergencies that leave them unable to pay home energy bills
How to apply for Minnesota HeatShare funds
- Call HeatShare at 1-800-842-7279 or call PHS Social Worker Monica Handlos at 651-789-9215 for help with the application process.
How do you prepare for winter heat bills? What works for you and your family’s budget? Do you have tips to minimize energy use in the winter? Any program that helped you cover home heat bills in a time of need?
We’d love to hear from you.Originally published: October 15, 2010