Much of Montana has been blessed with gorgeous weather that so far has required little to no help from the furnace. But those days could be numbered.

Now that the snow has arrived, the District 7 Human Resources Development Council, HRDC7, reminds everyone that the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, LIEAP,  at HRDC7 can help with heating bills during the winter months beginning October 1, 2015 through April 30, 2016, according to a news release from HRDC7.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) pays part of winter energy bills for eligible people. Most utilities offer LIEAP recipients discounts on their bills.

Who Is Eligible

If your household receives benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, you may qualify automatically for weatherization or fuel assistance.

Eligibility for weatherization and energy assistance is based on your income and assets. To be eligible for LIEAP, you must make no more than 60 percent of estimated state median income for 2014 if your household consists of seven or fewer, or 150 percent of the 2013 federal poverty level for households with more than seven members, according to the release from Marc Burr II, LIEAP program supervisor. Resource limits also apply. To be eligible for weatherization, you must make no more than 200 percent of the 2013 federal poverty level. Both homeowners and renters may apply for these programs.

When to Apply

The LIEAP and Weatherization Program application is available during the heating season, which is October 1 through April 30 of each year.

You may apply for weatherization assistance or an emergency situation with a furnace or water heater at any time during the year by contacting the energy assistance eligibility office serving your community.

Help is given based on the need.  We consider income but because of our funding sources, we have a little more flexibility to help people than do most government programs.

Energy Share is for emergency situations and is not a yearly subsidy.  Many people don’t want to, or refuse to accept, what they consider to be a “hand-out”.  If someone feels that way, they can give back to Energy Share in the form of “repayments”.  The money will go back to that area to help someone else in need.

So if you or someone you know finds themselves in a situation where they can’t pay their home energy costs, and they are about to have their heat source terminated, please contact the Human Resource Development Council at (800) 433-1411.