Heating LIHEAP in Maine: Look ahead and plan your heating for the upcoming months

Preparing for winter heating assistance in Maine: Anticipate the approaching cold months with the LIHEAP program.

As the summer sun graces us with its warmth, some resilient souls are already plotting ways to stay cozy when the harsh Maine winter descends upon us. Yet, the reality remains that many among us are grappling with financial challenges, struggling to meet even the most basic of needs, such as food and medicine. The thought of stocking up on fuel for the impending winter might seem like an unattainable dream. That’s what Maine Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP is intended for. This is the local name for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

HEAP, a lifeline for income-eligible households in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox counties, is here to cushion the blow of those daunting winter heating bills. Whether your abode relies on the warmth of oil, kerosene, coal, pellets, wood, LP gas, or electricity, HEAP is ready to lend a helping hand. Maine’s LIHEAP has officially opened its doors for fuel assistance applications, and this lifeline will stretch all the way until May 31, 2024, or until our funding pot runs dry.

How to apply for heating LIHEAP – HEAP benefits in Main

You might be wondering: why the rush to apply now? Well, the truth is, there’s an urgent need, and the appointment slots are filling up faster than a snowdrift in January. Statewide, we witnessed a staggering 20% increase in HEAP applications last year. To give you a glimpse, Penquis alone processed over 12,000 applications during the last HEAP season, compared to a mere 9,883 the year before. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Maine LIHEAP – HEAP is open for applicants

So, how does this all work? In the initial stages, we give priority to what we call “Priority Households.” These are the households where a member is not only responsible for the heating bill but is also either 60 years old or older, 72 months or younger, or living with a disability. If you applied in 2023 and fall into this category, you’re already in our queue, alongside 6,500 other households.

Once priority households’ quota is complete, the focus will change to households that pay for their heat but do not fall under the “priority Household” status. These are renters who have their heat included in their rent are next along with people who have “Room/Board”, and then finally those subsidized with heat included to keep them eligible for the Farm Bill or food stamps.

Maine LIHEAP – HEAP income guidelines

To qualify for HEAP benefits, applying households must have monthly incomes that does not exceed certain limits, according to the following:

  • Family of 1: $2,723
  • Family of 2: $3,560
  • Family of 3: $4,398
  • Family of 4: $5,236
  • Family of 5: $6,074
  • Family of 6: $6,911
  • Family of 7: $7,069

For a yearly income:

  • Family of 1: $32,672
  • Family of 2: $42,725
  • Family of 3: $52,778
  • Family of 4: $62,831
  • Family of 5: 72,883
  • Family of 6: $82,936
  • Family of 7: $84,821

If you think you qualify, call the Penquis team at 973-3500. You may also make an appointment by visiting the Penquis or MaineHousing websites at penquis.org or mainehousing.org.