Learn About Programs > Energy Assistance Program

Energy Assistance Program

September 2012 - May 2013

 

  1. What is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP)?
  2. Who can get help from the Energy Assistance Program?
  3. How do I find out who my Energy Assistance Program agency is?
  4. How does the Energy Assistance Program work?
  5. How much will the Energy Assistance Program pay?
  6. How do I get an application for Energy Assistance?
  7. What is the application like?
  8. What else do I have to provide to apply for EAP?
  9. Can I apply for EAP if I am behind on my heat payments or my heat has already been shut off?
  10. Do I have to go in person to apply?
  11. How soon will I be able to get on the program?
  12. Once I have applied for EAP, can I stop paying my heating bill?
  13. Is there a waiting list for EAP?
  14. What do I have to do to stay on the program?
  15. Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to get help from EAP?
  16. To get help from EAP, does if matter how long I have lived in Minnesota?
  17. Are there any asset limits for the EAP?
  18. What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
  19. What is the Cold Weather Rule?
  20. What will happen if my heat gets shut off?
What is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP)?
The Energy Assistance Program helps people with lower incomes to pay their heating/energy bills during the fall, winter and spring months. EAP agencies around the state take applications for the program and decide how much help each household can get to pay their heating bills.

The Energy Assistance Program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Who can get help from the Energy Assistance Program?
EAP is available to many households with lower incomes, including homeowners and renters. Renters can get help unless they are subsidized with both heat and electric included in their rent Your household’s income has to be below the limits to get help.
How do I find out who my Energy Assistance Program agency is?
There is an Energy Assistance Program agency that serves every county in Minnesota. Usually, it is your local Community Action Agency. Sometimes it is your county human services office. To find the EAP agency for your county, click here.
How does the Energy Assistance Program work?
When you get accepted for EAP, you will get a letter that says how much EAP money you will get to help with your energy costs. This is called your grant. For most people, your grant will be divided by 4 to cover part of your energy costs for 4 months. For 4 months in a row, your EAP agency will pay part of your bill directly to the gas or electric utility company that provides you heat. If you want, you can have your EAP agency send 30 percent of your EAP money to your electric company and send the rest to your heating company. If you get your fuel delivered (such as propane or oil), your grant will not be divided into 4 parts—it will be paid all at once (a lump sum). No matter how much help you get from EAP, you still have to pay the rest of your energy bill every month.
How much will the Energy Assistance Program pay?
It depends on how many people live in your household, their income, the type of fuel you use, and how much fuel you use. Those families with the lowest incomes and the highest cost for energy will get the most help paying their bills. You will get between $100 to $1400 of help. The average grant is $500. Some homeowners may also be eligible for furnace repair/replacements if they meet eligibility requirements. Ask your county Energy Assistance agency for more information.
How do I get an application for Energy Assistance?
The application is called the “Minnesota Energy Programs Application." It is available in English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Braille and large print. You can pick one up from your EAP agency or have it mailed to you. If you got help from the EAP last year, you will probably get an application mailed to you automatically. You can also get an application on this website by clicking here.

However, applications are only accepted October 1 to May 31 each year. In addition, a new application is issued each year and it is not available until September of that year. You will need to apply every program year.
What is the application like?
The application is 4 pages long, plus instructions. It asks about who lives with you, your sources of income, and who provides your heat and electricity. You can fill it out the application yourself of you can get help from your EAP agency. When it is complete, turn it in to your EAP agency.
What else do I have to provide to apply for EAP?
For all the adults who live in your home, you will have to provide proof of all income for the past three months (such as copies of check stubs, a written statement from your employer, or proof of other income including Social Security, unemployment, insurance, pension funds, disability payments, etc.). You will also have to send a copy of your most recent heating bill and electric bill. Be sure to sign and date your application and include all the required information or your application will not be processed.
Can I apply for EAP if I am behind on my heat payments or my heat has already been shut off?
Yes. If you are behind on your payments or have already had your heat shut off, be sure to tell your EAP agency when you apply and send or bring your shut off notice with your application. You may be eligible for energy crisis assistance and your application will be given priority.
Do I have to go in person to apply?
No. There is no interview required for the Energy Assistance Program. But you can go to your EAP agency in person if you need help filling out the application.
How soon will I be able to get on the program?
Typically grants start to be distributed in late October or early November. Applications are received beginning October 1 and are processed in date order once funding is received until the end of the program year (May 31), or until funding is depleted. Households experiencing a possible disconnect or have no heat will be given special consideration.
Once I have applied for EAP, can I stop paying my heating bill?
No. You have to keep paying your heating bill. If it is too much for you to pay, call your heating company and arrange a payment plan that you can pay. Otherwise you may have your heat turned off. Even after you get help from EAP, you still have to pay your part of the heating bill. EAP only pays part of your bill.
Is there a waiting list for EAP?
No. See question 11.
What do I have to do to stay on the program?
Nothing - your grant will be paid directly to your vendor. Once you have been accepted for EAP, you will get help for the next four months, or one lump sum if you heat with delivered fuel. You must apply every program year.
Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to get help from EAP?
No. You do not need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You will be asked to provide Social Security Numbers (SSN) on the application for everyone in the household. However, a verifiable SSN is required only for the primary applicant and optional for other household members. If no one in your household has a verifiable SSN, an alternative legal document number may be allowable.
To get help from EAP, does if matter how long I have lived in Minnesota?
No. But you must apply for help at the Energy Assistance Program agency that serves your county.
Are there any asset limits for the EAP?
No. This program doesn’t look at your assets. (Assets are money in a checking or savings account or any other items of value that you own.)
What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
Weatherization Assistance is a program that pays for improvements to your home to keep more heat in. By making these improvements (such as adding attic insulation, caulking or weather stripping), it will cost less to heat your home. When you fill out the application for EAP (Minnesota Energy Programs Application), you will also apply for help from Weatherization Assistance.
What is the Cold Weather Rule?
The Cold Weather Rule protects all Minnesotans from having their heat turned off during the winter (from October 15 to April 15) even if they have not paid all of their bills. If you get EAP, you can also apply for protection under the Cold Weather Rule. There is information about the Cold Weather rule on the EAP application. If you fall behind paying your heating bills, you will get a letter in the mail from your energy company called a “Notice of Proposed Disconnection” telling you that your heat may be turned off soon. You will also get an “Inability to Pay/10% Plan Form.” Fill this out right away and return it. Then, the utility company can decide that you do not have to pay anything, or that you only have to pay up to 10% of your income each month (but no more). Either way, your heat cannot be turned off. You may also have to fulfill other requirements, such as attending a Budget Counseling class. Another way to make sure your heat is not turned off is to call your utility company and set up a budgeted payment plan. That way, you can plan to pay about the same amount each month of the year, instead of having very large bills during the winter. Some companies also offer the Gas Affordability Program, contact your vendor for more information.
What will happen if my heat gets shut off?
If your heat gets shut off, it will cost more money (a reconnection fee) to have it turned back on. Your energy company may also require an additional deposit before they will turn on the heat. That is why it is important to fill out the Cold Weather Rule form or arrange a payment plan with your energy company. Then your heat cannot be turned off during the winter as long as you make the required payments.