More LIHEAP Funds Available; Guidelines Loosened

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More LIHEAP Funds Available; Guidelines Loosened

April 15, 2021

Due to the continuing economic hardship created by the ongoing pandemic and certain restrictions, the expected addition of over $100 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for Minnesota from the American Rescue Plan Act, and the likelihood that disconnection activity will be resuming over the summer, the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP) plans to implement several policy updates. These changes, according to a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, are effective April 15, 2021.

To ensure Energy Assistance is available to Minnesotans when disconnections resume, the DOC is extending the deadline for submitting an application for this program year from May 31, 2021, to September 1, 2021.

The additional LIHEAP funding coming from the American Rescue Plan Act provides sufficient resources to increase the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) income eligibility threshold from 50 percent of State Median Income (SMI) to 60 percent of SMI, which is the highest amount allowed by the LIHEAP statute. This change, said the DOC, allows help for more households in need and ensures LIHEAP funds go to the people they are intended to help. Commerce EAP will work with local Service Providers to identify households previously ineligible, with incomes between 50 percent and 60 percent SMI, to ensure they are served. Updated income guidelines were also released and DOC said they will be updated on its website soon.

Primary Heat Payments Collapsed

Normally, for connected utilities, primary heat payments are broken into 4 separate monthly payments. Starting April 15, all newly created primary heat payments will be collapsed to one payment.

Fillable PDF and Spanish versions of the application will be updated, said the DOC, on its website shortly.

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