The primary financial assistance program for heating costs in Vermont is Fuel Assistance, which is based on the national LIHEAP program. Thousands of low income families receive help from the federal government every year with weatherization. The application process is the same for this resource. There are two main federal government low income energy assistance programs. One is for families with young children, seniors, and the disabled. The other is for single individuals. There is only a certain amount of money available for people who need assistance and who meet the requirements. Both renters and homeowners in Vermont can get money from LIHEAP.
There are income limits that depend on the number of people who live in your home. The government will look at other things like how much you make, your Social Security, your pension benefits, and everything you own when they decide if you qualify. We will look at how much money everyone in your household earns and what kind of belongings they own as part of the weatherization and fuel assistance application process.
Details on Vermont LIHEAP
You can apply for benefits at your local social service office or community action agency. To request an application, call 1-800-479-6151. Vermont has set up a specific phone number for residents who are 60 years old or older. The Senior Helpline provides information on LIHEAP and can help seniors complete the application process. All the money that is available is given out on a first come, first serve basis and is contingent on many different factors.
Vermont also has a program to help people who are in a fuel crisis. This can happen if someone doesn’t have enough fuel, if they’re about to be disconnected from their power source, or if they can’t afford to buy more heating oil. If you’re in a financial bind and need help paying your utility bills, you may be eligible for crisis assistance. Crisis assistance grants can be used to pay your energy company to turn your power back on, cover the cost of a furnace repair, or purchase propane, electricity, kerosene, natural gas, wood, or oil.
This component is active from November to April. There may be some exceptions made for people who are unable to apply in person, such as elderly or disabled residents. There is also an emergency number that can be dialed on weekends, which is 1-800-479-6151.
Many people who are enrolled in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program / LIHEAP also receive heating bill assistance from other sources such as the government. The Shareheat program from Central Vermont Public Service helps people in need pay for their heating costs. This is a program for people who are almost out of heating fuel or who have had their utility service disconnected. A maximum of $200 can be given out during the winter.
Another state-wide discount program is available. If you use less than 600 kilowatt hours of energy in a month, you will receive a 25% discount on your monthly bill. This usually costs around $300 per year. This means that if you have any unpaid balance on your account, you may be forgiven for it and will not have to pay it back. This service is provided by the Economic Services Division of the DCF in Waterbury. To learn about a service that can save you money, call 1-800-775-0516. Priority is given to low income families and the elderly for most resources.
If you are struggling to pay your electric or natural gas bills, your community action agency may have case workers who can help you negotiate a payment or installment plan with the utility company. This means that people who are behind on their bills can either arrange a payment plan with their utility company, or they will not have their service disconnected. Contact the agency in advance to arrange a meeting.
Heating assistance from weatherization services
The Weatherization Program helps Vermont residents save heat and fuel. This is another resource that the federal government has created in order to help low-income residents, with a focus on those who are most vulnerable. The free energy conservation program is for older Vermonters, senior citizens, people with disabilities, elderly, and families with young children. Making your home more energy-efficient will help you save money on your heating bills and use less fuel.
The application and income requirements for this program are the same as the LIHEAP program, which is based on how much money your household makes and how many people live there. Some enrolments are made automatically. If you get food stamps or any other kind of public aid from Vermont, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the program.
More improvements and updates are coming. After that, the contractors will do a review/audit of your home. This state-of-the-art building includes a heating system test and infrared scan, a blower door, and even a carbon monoxide test. A free energy-efficient retrofit will be done for homeowners, including attic insulation, dense-pack sidewall insulation, air sealing, and heating system upgrades and replacements. You can apply for this program even if you’re renting, as long as your landlord agrees. You can get more information or enroll in the program by calling 1-800-479-6151 or your local community action agency.