Energy Assistance Program
- What is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP)?
- Who can get help from the Energy Assistance Program?
- How do I find out who my Energy Assistance Program agency is?
- How does the Energy Assistance Program work?
- How much will the Energy Assistance Program pay?
- How do I get an application for Energy Assistance?
- What is the application like?
- What else do I have to provide to apply for EAP?
- Can I apply for EAP if I am behind on my heat payments or my heat has already been shut off?
- Do I have to go in person to apply?
- How soon will I be able to get on the program?
- Once I have applied for EAP, can I stop paying my heating bill?
- Is there a waiting list for EAP?
- What do I have to do to stay on the program?
- Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to get help from EAP?
- To get help from EAP, does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota?
- Are there any asset limits for the EAP?
- What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
- What is the Cold Weather Rule?
- What will happen if my heat gets shut off?
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 determine how much help each household can get to pay their heating bills.
The Energy Assistance Program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
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. The maximum incomes are listed here.
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.
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.
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 $200 to $1400 of help. The average grant is $500. Households whose energy services have been disconnected (or are in danger of being disconnected) may be eligible for additional help to get reconnected or prevent disconnection. Even if you received a grant earlier, you may able to get more help. Some homeowners may also be eligible for furnace repair/replacements if they meet eligibility requirements. Ask your local Energy Assistance agency for more information.
The application is called the “Minnesota Energy Programs Application." It is available in English, Spanish 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. It is best if you get the application directly from your local Energy Assistance Agency as that application will have the local agency's return address on the application, making it easy for you to know where to mail the application.
Applications must be recieved or postmarked by May 31st of each year to processed for EAP benefits for that program year. Applications after May 31st may be eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program, local funds, referrals, advocacy, etc. EAP applications denied due to end of program year will be put on the mailing list to automatically recieve an applicatiion for the next prorgram year. A new EAP application is issued each year and it is not available until September of that year. You will need to apply every program year.
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 or you can get help from your EAP agency. When it is complete, turn it in to your EAP agency.
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.
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 (usually May 31), or until funding is depleted. Households experiencing a possible disconnect or have no heat will be given special consideration.
No. See question 11 - How soon will I be able to get on the program?
No. But you must apply for help at the Energy Assistance Program agency that serves your county.
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. 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.