Heating bill assistance deadline is May 31
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources wants low-income Minnesotans--especially seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children--to know that grant funds are still available to help pay their heating bills from the Energy Assistance Program (EAP).
"While spring has finally arrived, many Minnesotans may still be struggling to pay large energy bills that built up over the extended winter," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "We still have funds available and want households to know they should contact us for help before May 31, which is the last day to apply for this program year."
The average energy assistance grant is $500 per household. Households with an income less than 50 percent of the state median income ($42,789 for a family of four) may qualify. Household that qualify are served on a first-come, first-served basis while the funds last. People have until May 31, when the program year ends, to apply for the EAP funds.
Minnesota's senior citizens are among the households who are encouraged to apply for funding, which is a point AARP wants everyone to remember. "Even though the temperature is finally rising, the impact of the long, cold winter is still hitting many older Minnesotans in the pocket book. Heating assistance dollars can make a real difference for many seniors and older workers who may not know they are even eligible. For people who live on fixed incomes or may be out of work, every dollar counts and this is one important resource that may help make ends meet," said Michele Kimball, Minnesota AARP Director.
How to apply for energy assistance
The EAP pays the utility company directly on behalf of eligible households. Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area; Minnesota has 34 local service providers.
A list of local service providers and information on applying for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program is available by calling 1-800-657-3710 or 651-296-5175 or visiting the Energy Assistance section of the Division of Energy Resources website (www.energy.mn.gov).
EAP is federally funded by the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies. See www.staywarm.mn.gov for a list of resources.