New Hampshire offers low income residents assistance with paying their heating bills from the Fuel Assistance Program and also weatherization. Cash grants are offered as part of FAP, while the weatherization program can help families save money on their energy bills. Both services are available to qualified low income families, seniors, and people who are most at risk if their heat were to be disconnected.
Both of these resources are funded by the federal government, and the fuel assistance program is the state’s version of LIHEAP. As funds become available from the government, qualified lower income households can receive support.
If a family does in fact qualify for help with heating bills from the Fuel Assistance Program, all funds are paid out as cash grants and the money does not need to be paid back to the state. FAP will not only help with paying your “regular” heating bills, but FAP can also help address a crisis or heating emergency. Low income residents can get help with finding and securing an emergency delivery of fuel or oil, delaying a shut-off notice, or case workers from the state can refer clients to another source of assistance, such as a local non-profit organization.
While the total amount paid out to a New Hampshire will vary and is based on factors including your need, household income, and number of family members, in general Fuel Assistance benefits offered will range from $120 to up to $1000. Another factor is how much federal government funding is available as well as your total household energy costs. This targeting of the aid also allows the New Hampshire FAP program to provide those families with the lowest incomes and highest heating bills and energy costs the greatest benefits. The program is not a public aid/welfare type resource, and anyone who is at risk and has a low income can apply.
The New Hampshire Fuel Assistance Program is the states version of the federal government LIHEAP, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. People need to apply at your local community action agency, and the state partners with these non-profit organizations. So it is also funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. You will need to call or stop by your local community action agency in order to set up an appointment, get more information or to learn more about the application process. A community action agency can also help you apply for other resources such as weatherization and programs that are offered directly by utility and natural gas companies.
Crisis assistance is also offered as a component of the NH Fuel Assistance Program. Those applicants, in particular senior citizens, who are faced with a heating emergency can have the application process sped up. The state may offer immediate help with your bills, or help you find another source of fuel or oil. Households where elderly, disabled persons, and/or young children reside receive priority for a crisis situation as well.
When you apply for FAP, your total household income, vulnerability to heating costs, and of household members will all be considered. Also, the community action agency will also more than likely determine your eligibility for both heating/fuel assistance and weatherization at the same time, as they are often combined together. The program is offered for people of all backgrounds, regardless of your marital or familial status, color, religion, sex, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disability.
The free Weatherization Assistance Program in New Hampshire can help families lower their heating bills and save potentially hundreds of dollars per year. It works by installing energy efficiency improvements in the homes of low-income persons, with a focus on those who are most vulnerable to high-energy costs and who can’t afford to pay for their own conservation updates to their home.
The state and your local Community Action Agency will also try to coordinate this service with your electric and/or natural gas utilities' energy efficiency programs to ensure you have access to all possible conservation and weatherization services, as many companies offer additional resources. They will also work with the FAP grant program as indicated above. You will need to call your local social service or community action agency to apply.
Unfortunately there is often a waiting list and you just need to be patient and wait. Priority for assistance is given to the elderly, disabled, and households with children under six years old. All services are provided free of charge to qualified New Hampshire homeowners.
The process will begin when an energy auditor contacts the applicant to schedule a time to perform a comprehensive home energy audit. This will include a number of steps, such as diagnostic testing, an examination of the homes air flow, where the heat is escaping your residence, and more. All of this will be carried out by an OEP or Building Performance Institute (BPI)-certified contractor. After this initial exam is done, a report will identify all cost effective energy saving and conservation improvements.
Some of the New Hampshire weatherization programs include insulation of basements and crawl spaces, attic air sealing, installing attic or wall insulation, weather stripping, and more. Keep in mind that the goal is to really improve the efficiency of your home, so other improvements can include drafts by weather-stripping or repairing broken exterior doors, performing minor furnace maintenance and repair, and also insulating water heater pipes or furnace ducts. The energy auditor will ensure that your appliances and heating system work efficiently and safely. Some people may receive as much as $6500 in updates to their home.
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