Low income renters and homeowners in Maine who need help with paying heating bills can turn to LIHEAP. Weatherization is another service offered, and this can help people save money on their energy and heating bills from free energy conservation measures.
Both programs are focused on those who are most at risk from either having their power turned off or who pay a high percentage of their income towards their utilities. So they focus on low income seniors, families with children, the disabled and elderly. The amount of grants paid out from LIHEAP will be based on the household’s size, income, total energy costs, and more.
The applicant’s income needs to fall within guidelines, which are established by the state and the federal government. There can be exceptions made though, and typical examples would be for families with a household member who is elderly, a child twenty-four months of age or under, someone with a medical condition, or an applicant with a doctor's diagnosis. Renters can also apply for LIHEAP, and it is not limited to homeowners.
Maine offers crisis assistance as well. The state will make additional help available for applicants who are in danger of having utility services disconnected, or who have less than a 3-day supply of heating fuel and if the individual has no other means to pay their energy company. Many people who are eligible for LIHEAP may also qualify for other federal government funded programs or resources, such as weatherization (see below).
The LIHEAP Emergency Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) offers the low income and seniors with help up to once per heating season. Funds and cash is available to pay for emergency fuel, heating oil, or to help a household avoid an electricity cut-off. When you have no other options this resource may be offered.
A discount program is often offered as well. If you receive residential electric service, and provided that you are not in government supported or public housing, then that is a requirement that needs to be met in order to get help from your electric utility’s Low Income Assistance Plan (LIAP). If your heating expense is included in the monthly rent you pay your landlord, then you can still get help.
So participants may also be able to receive lower rates on their electric bills. The Low-Income Assistance Plan, or LIAP, is available for low-income renters and homeowners who pay their own electricity costs. It could potentially provide discounts by lowering their utility bills, and many people who receive LIHEAP will be eligible.
You can apply for these, and other programs, by calling your local town office or community action agency. The application window is usually open during August. Or call 1-800-452-4668.
These are the two other primary Maine programs for low income individuals and families. The programs provide grants to both homeowners and renters for weatherization services and/or repair or replacement of central heating system or furnaces. The application process is very similar to that of LIHEAP, and oftentimes people are signed up for both government resources.
Some of the free weatherization improvements may include adding weather-stripping, insulation, caulking, and some safety-related repairs. The CHIP grants may be used to pay for the repair or replacement of central heating systems. Your home really needs to be in decent structural condition in order to benefit from these services, as they are not intended to fix older homes.
As indicated, the programs above are usually offered together. When a Maine resident applies for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program they will be automatically considered for Weatherization and other energy bill assistance as well.
When applying, some or all of the following may need to be provided. Proof of gross household income for the last 3 months or a year. The names and social security numbers of all people living in your household. You will need to bring recent copies of your energy and utility bills. The type of fuel a Maine family uses to heat their home will also be considered as part of the LIHEAP and weatherization application processes.
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