The State of Montana, through the Department of Public Health and Human Services, offers two programs aimed at helping low-income individuals reduce their heating costs.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) pays part of winter energy bills for eligible people. Most utilities offer LIEAP recipients discounts on their bills. The Weatherization Program helps participants to improve the heating efficiency of their homes and thus reduce their energy consumption.
In January 2017, there were 334 people in Mineral County who received energy assistance and 625 in Sanders County. This is out of 29,557 people in Montana who received help last year.
LIEAP accepts applications for assistance from Oct. 1 through April 30 each year. Eligibility is based on income and both homeowners and renters can apply for LIEAP and the Weatherization Program. Households that currently receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program may qualify automatically for weatherization or fuel assistance.
Poverty level for a household of four to qualify has a limit between $45,916 to $50,200 and for one individual it’s $23,876 and $24,280. Residents can apply online at: https://dphhs.mt.gov/hcsd/energyassistance.aspx or contact the Human Resource Council in Missoula at 406-728-3710 for Mineral County, and the Community Action Partnership of Northwest in Kalispell at 406-728-5433 for Sanders County.