Energy Assistance Programs
Extra funding for energy assistance ends this month: How to get help
Nushrat Rahman Detroit Free Press
Published 6:00 a.m. ET September 7, 2020
State Emergency Relief Program
The State Emergency Relief program helps low-income households pay part of their heating or electric bills and keep utilities in service or restore them. This program is available year round but due to the pandemic there have been several changes to the program:
Here are some of those changes and deadlines, according to a news release:
Customers no longer have to go through a phone interview to apply. They can apply online at www.michigan.gov/mibridges or fill out a paper application, which can be find online at michigan.gov/mdhhs or at local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offices.
The state has suspended "one-time energy assists" meaning that customers can get more assistance if they have not reached their energy caps. These caps were increased from $1,200 to $1,500 for deliverable fuel customers and from $850 to $1,150 for customers usingnatural gas, electricity and wood. A family of five is eligible for the same amount of assistance as a family of two. This $300 increase is in effect until Sept. 30.
Households can have up to $15,000 in assets and still remain eligible for the program.
Minimum payments toward energy services based on a household's size have been eliminated. MDHHS previously required that households make minimum payments in order to be eligible. Because of COVID-19, the minimum payment amount is now $0.
Michigan Energy Assistance Program
Households that qualify for State Emergency Relief program can also apply for a different state program called the Michigan Energy Assistance Program and receive additional assistance until the end of next month.
The program provides supplemental bill payment assistance and "self-sufficiency services," like energy needs assessments and waterproofing, for low-income residents statewide.
MEAP funding increased from $2,000 to $3,000 per household but will go back down after Sept. 30. Households can get the additional money if they have not reached the $3,000 cap yet.
For more information and help getting this money, customers can contact a MEAP provider. In Southeast Michigan these providers are: Society of St. Vincent de Paul of the Archdiocese of Detroit, The Heat and Warmth Fund, the Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Connect with a provider during your MI Bridges SER application process by calling 211 or going to mi211.org.
Home Heating Credit
The Home Heating Credit program helps eligible homeowners and renters receive a credit to pay winter heating bills. The application deadline is Sept. 30.
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