Rescue plan

US bailout cash injection bolsters mass fuel aid program | News

Massachusetts receives a record $ 307.5 million in federal home heating assistance this fiscal year thanks to a major infusion of the American Rescue Plan Act, members of the state congressional delegation said .

In addition to an annual loan of $ 120.5 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding for Massachusetts, the federal government also provides $ 187.1 million in LIHEAP funds from ARPA, which more than doubles the typical Bay State cash allowance to help low-income households and the elderly cover heating costs.

“As temperatures drop and the cold sets in New England, families in Massachusetts will be able to afford energy costs and stay warm, safe and healthy this winter thanks to the US bailout,” said US Representative Richard Neal, the Democrat of Springfield. who chairs the US House Ways and Means Committee. “Many individuals and families are still recovering from the pandemic. This investment will allow them not to have to choose between putting food on the table or paying for heating. “

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have said they will work to expand LIHEAP further so that federal money can be used to help people better prepare their homes for the cold, not just to provide heating assistance.

“Thousands more Massachusetts residents will be eligible for life-saving fuel assistance, and we will once again ensure that our most vulnerable residents are taken care of – especially in the midst of this pandemic,” Senators said. . “But as climate change makes the seasons more extreme and supply chain disruptions continue to exacerbate energy burdens on families, LIHEAP funding must be allocated not only to give families the annual grants they need, but also to support weathering, which will help them reduce their energy loads over time.

In Massachusetts, the Baker Legislature and Administration have often supplemented federal LIHEAP funding with state dollars amid steadily declining federal support between 2017 and 2021.

LIHEAP is administered locally by the Berkshire Community Action Council.

Acceptance of LIHEAP requests for assistance began on November 1 and there have been over 6,000 requesting households. Typically, there will be around 8,000 applicants from Berkshire County by the end of the program on April 30.

LIHEAP money helps cover the cost of petroleum, natural gas, propane, coal, pellets, wood, electricity and kerosene.

To be eligible, the annual income of a household with one person cannot exceed $ 40,951. For a family of four, household income could not exceed $ 78,751.

Depending on household income, LIHEAP can provide up to $ 1,030 in fuel assistance for those with income below the scale. For those at the top of the scale, the amount of assistance would be $ 618 for the winter. People living in subsidized rental housing would receive less.

For more information or to find out how to apply for LIHEAP Heating Assistance Funding, call 866-216-6200 or visit bcacinc.org.