Fuel Assistance, also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), is a federally funded program to help low-income households with their heating bills. The program begins November 1st and ends April 30th each year. All heating types may be eligible for assistance: oil, propane, kerosene, coal, cord wood, wood pellets, natural gas, electric and even some households that have heat included in their rent.
Fuel assistance can only pay for the cost of the heat you actually use during the program. If the cost of heating your home is less than your benefit amount, we will only pay that amount. For example, if you are eligible for $400 and the heating bills submitted by your heating company total only $350 then the $50 left over would be returned to our funding source.
Any low-income household whose gross yearly income falls at or below the income guidelines may be eligible. Homeowners and tenants are both eligible to receive fuel assistance.
Towns Served by the Program
Adams, Alford, Ashley Falls, Becket, Berkshire, Cheshire, Chester, Clarksburg, Dalton, Drury, East Otis, Florida, Glendale, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Housatonic, Lanesboro, Lee, Lenox, Lenoxdale, Mill River, Monterey, Mt. Washington, New Ashford, New Marlboro, North Adams, North Egremont, Otis, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, South Egremont, South Lee, Southfield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, & Windsor.
If you are eligible for fuel assistance you may be eligible for a discount on your utilities. The gas and electric companies offer a discount as long as the bill is in the name of the head of household listed on your fuel assistance application. Fuel Assistance will automatically notify all utility companies. A discount is offered by Verizon this discount is called lifeline and you need to contact them to determine your eligibility.
You may be eligible for an additional benefit if the cost of the heat for your home over the last 12 months exceeds the threshold set for your heating source. The consumption threshold and benefit amount is determined by our funding source and is subject to change each year. Consumption threshold amounts and benefit levels are announced when the fuel program begins.
Once you are determined eligible for fuel assistance, you will be mailed an eligibility letter stating the amount of your benefit or you may call our automated phone system at 1-866-216-6200. You will need to know your Social Security number to access information concerning your application. The automated phone service is available 24-hours-a-day 7-days-a-week and can tell you the status of you application, benefit level, and any payments made to your heating account.
Important: The payments listed may not show up on your heating bill immediately. Always attempt to make payments on your bill, even if you are not able to pay the full amount. Fuel Assistance encourages you to maintain a good standing with your heating company so our staff will be able to negotiate on your behalf to keep your service on if you receive a shut off notice.
Documents Needed for the Application (where it applies)
Photo ID for Head of Household
Social Security cards for all household members
Proof of income for every household member over the age of 18 for the 30 days prior to your appointment date.
Wages (4 consecutive weeks)
Social Security(verification of gross amount from the source)
Pension (verification of gross amount from the source)
EAEDC-TANF (Award letter)
Self-Employment (Most current *Certified tax return)
Rental Income (Most current *Certified tax return)
Child Support (court order, DOR print out, or notarized letter from ex-spouse)
Unemployment (4 consecutive weeks)
Lease/Full name address and phone number of Landlord
Mortgage statement/Tax bill, Home Owners Insurance
Current Gas and Electric bills
*If taxes are self-prepared an IRS tax transcript is needed and can be obtained by calling 1-800-829-1040
For More Information Contact
If you believe you could be eligible for fuel assistance based on the income guidelines listed above, you should contact our Administrative office at 413-445-4503 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.Monday through Friday.