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Fuel Assistance

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2023

The Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), commonly known as Fuel Assistance, can help you pay your heating bills this winter.  

What is Fuel Assistance?

Fuel Assistance is a program that helps pay your heating bills by sending money to your heating company to be credited to your account. A heating company can include an oil or propane dealer, or an electric or gas utility.

The Fuel Assistance program can sometimes make payments on electric bills, even if you heat with oil or gas. These payments are limited in amount and are not made until the spring, but can help you stop a shut off of utility service when the winter moratorium on utility shut offs ends. [internal link to shut off article]

Getting Fuel Assistance automatically qualifies you for important electricity and gas discounts and free energy efficiency services, such as weatherizing your home.

Learn more on the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources website.

Can I get Fuel Assistance?

All households earning less than 60% of state median income are financially eligible for Fuel Assistance. Homeowners and renters can apply for Fuel Assistance. The amount you get depends on

  • your income,
  • your household size,
  • your heating source (oil, gas, propane, electricity), and
  • whether you live in subsidized housing.

Can I get Fuel Assistance even if heat is included in my rent?

You can get Fuel Assistance if you pay for heat separate from your rent. You also may be able to get it even if heat is included in your rent.

If you live in public housing or have a housing voucher, and heat is included in your rent, you can get Fuel Assistance if your rent is more than 30% of your income.

If you live in private housing and heat is included in your rent, you can get Fuel Assistance no matter how much rent you pay. The program will pay 30% of the monthly rent, up to the maximum Fuel Assistance benefit which is based on your income.

How do I apply for Fuel Assistance?

Apply online. Or, call the Heatline, 1-800-632-8175, to find out where in your area you can apply for Fuel Assistance.

The application process opens November 1 each year. It usually runs through the end of April (sometimes into May).

 

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