Public Inquiries: 1-800-632-8175
Local LIHEAP Administering Agency Contacts
LIHEAP FY 2016 Funding (including tribal awards)
$133,341,724 (Initial CR Release)
LIHEAP Income Eligibility Level
60% State Median Income
LIHEAP FY 2016 Benefit
Heating: $275 minimum, $800 maximum
LIHEAP Households Served in FY 2014
Winter/Year-round Crisis: 20,879
Summer Crisis: 0
LIHEAP Program Dates
Heating, Crisis and Weatherization: November 1 - April 30
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program
RAFT is a Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) funded homelessness prevention program. RAFT provides short-term financial assistance to low-income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. RAFT offers flexible financial assistance designed to meet each family’s particular needs. Eligible uses include moving cost assistance, rent and utility arrears, rental stipends which help families who are behind on rent, or utility bills. RAFT also helps families who have to move but do not have enough money to pay a security deposit, utility startup costs, or first/last month’s rent and furniture (no more than $1000 of the family’s $4000 assistance can be paid for furniture). Families can get up to $4000 within a 12-month period.
To be eligible for RAFT:
- Your family must be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
- The household must be income eligible.
- Meet the basic criteria of an assessment targeting tool developed by DHCD.
- The RAFT eligibility process will consider the reasons for which someone is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, including loss of income and increased expenses for those with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of AMI.
- Your family's housing plan must show that RAFT assistance will stabilize your housing situation. You must have enough income after you get RAFT to be able to stay in your current housing, get new housing, or otherwise avoid homelessness.
To apply for RAFT, you should contact the regional Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) that serves your city or town. To find your regional HCEC, call 1-800-224-5124.
Low-Income Rate Assistance
Over a dozen gas, electric and combination IOUs offer utility rate discounts totaling nearly $40 million per year and ranging from 20 percent to 42 percent off the low-income customer bill. These discounts were negotiated during the past two decades and were required to continue under Massachusetts' restructuring legislation. Households earning less than 175 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines, or receiving one of several means tested programs, including LIHEAP, Food Stamps, TANF and SSI are eligible.
- Discount Rate
If you are currently eligible for fuel assistance, or are receiving one of the benefits listed below, you may also be eligible for NSTAR's Discount Rate. Please note, eligibility for the Discount Rate isn't limited to these programs, as other means-tested public benefits are also eligible.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
- Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
- Food Stamps
- Refugee Resettlement Benefits
- MassHealth Basic and Standard
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
- Head Start
- Free and Reduced School Lunch or Breakfast Program
- Mass. Veterans Benefits (GLC. 115)
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Surviving Spouse or Parents of Veterans (Dependency Indemnity Compensation letter required)
- Improved Veterans Disability Pension (Non-Service Connected Disability letter required)
- Commonwealth Care Plan, Types 1, 2 or 2A
- Health Safety Net Plan - Primary or Secondary (not partial)
- Forgiveness Program
If you are experiencing difficulties paying your utility bill and your income falls within 60 percent of the State Median Income level, you may be eligible to participate in NSTAR's Forgiveness Program. Call 866-315-2496 for more information.
Monthly discount for customers with income at or below 175% FPG and who receive assistance from certain public benefit programs. Download an application.
You may receive a gas or electric discount if you are a low-income residential customer and participate in the following public assistance programs:
- Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
- Food Stamps
- Fuel Assistance
- Head Start
- MassHealth (Medicaid)
- Public or subsidized housing
- School Breakfast or Lunch Program (Free)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
- Veterans' Service Benefits
- Veterans Non-Service Pension/DIC
Applications are available on the website - https://www1.nationalgridus.com/PaymentAssistance
Call 1-800-322-3223 for more information.
Western Massachusetts Electric
- Residential Discount Rate
Discount rate for income-eligible residential customers who participate in certain state and federal assistance programs and whose income falls within 175% of federal poverty guidelines as listed on the current Residential Discount Rate
Application form. For more information, call at 781-4300 (within the Springfield calling area) or 800-286-2000 (outside the Springfield calling area) or visit your local community action agency.
Application: English, Spanish
An arrearage management program designed to help you manage your electric bill. WMECO will help you develop a monthly budget. Each month you make a timely payment you will earn credits to pay off your outstanding bill and WMECO will take a portion of what you owe off your old balance.
Eligibility requirements: must be a current WMECO residential customer; must apply for and receive an energy assistance payment; balance must be $100 or more and at least 60 days overdue; income must fall at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines
Call the NUStart team at 800-286-5844 (toll-free) for information or to enroll.
- Discounted Residential Rates
Discounted non-heating and heating delivery charges are available to low-income customers who qualify for any means-tested public assistance programs or LIHEAP and household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
- Residential Arrearage Management Program" (RAMP)
Provides financial assistance to eligible low-income customers with active accounts that have outstanding bills in arrears. Eligible low-income customers may qualify for forgiveness of past due bills for natural gas service. Program participants receive credits to their past due account up to a lifetime maximum of $3,000 once all program requirements have been met. (Some restrictions may apply.) Contact your local Community Action Council.
Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC)
Great Barrington 413-528-1947
North Adams 413-663-3014
Franklin Community Action Council (FCAC)
- Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program
RAFT is a state-funded program for families at risk of homelessness. RAFT helps families who are behind on rent, mortgage payments, or utility bills. RAFT also helps families who have to move but do not have enough money to pay a security deposit, utility startup costs, or first/last month's rent. Families can get up to $3000. Funding is limited. Not all eligible families get help. Eligibility requirements include:
- Homeless family lacking permanent residence or at risk of homelessness
- Family of two or more with dependent child under 21 or disabled adult
- Sufficient income to support future expenses
- Rent/mortgage payment cannot exceed 50% of income
- Meet 50% of median income guideline for household size
- Documentation and verification of address, income, financial hardship and utility arrearage
Citizens Energy / Distrigas
Heat Assistance Program (CEDHAP)
Provides a $150 utility bill credit to eligible households who heat with natural gas. The program is run by Citizens Energy and funded by Distrigas.
Essex County Gas Company
Twenty percent discount. Residential heating rate will change from R-03 to R-04. Secondary users (non-heat) will change from R-01 to R-02.
Unitil/Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company
Discount Rate Program for residential customers who qualify for any means-tested public assistance programs and household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Applications are available online in English and Spanish.
Littleton Electric Light Department
Senior Citizen and Disabled Customer Discounts
The base customer charge is waived for senior citizens (age 62 and over) and handicapped persons.
Middleborough Gas and Electric Department
Customers 60 years and older can apply for an additional 5% senior discount, which is added to the 10% prompt payment discount when the bill is paid within 10 days and the account is current.
North Attleborough Electric Department
Residential Assistance A 5
Discount rate available upon verification of a customer’s receipt of any means tested public benefit, or verification of eligibility for the low income home energy assistance program, or its successor program, for which eligibility does not exceed 175 percent of the federal poverty level based upon a household & gross income.
Low-Income Energy Efficiency
Customers of Massachusetts regulated electric and gas companies who receive the low-income discount rate may also be eligible for free energy efficiency services that may include energy audits, electric baseload measures, appliance efficiency services, attic and wall insulation, air sealing and heating system replacement. Contact local Community Action agencies or call 1-800-632-8175.
- Energy Efficiency Program
Heating customers are eligible for 100% of the installed cost of the following energy-saving measures:
Crawl Space Insulation
Instrumented Air Sealing
City of Boston
Senior Home Emergency Home Repair Program
Helping seniors prepare their homes for the winter is a specialty of DND's Senior Homeowner Services unit. DND is assisted by a number of neighborhood-based agencies, including NOAH; ESAC, Kit Clark and United Southend Settlements.
Free home weatherization is available to income-eligible Massachusetts customers. Homeowners or renters may qualify for up to $4,500 in free weatherization measures. All services are provided by a licensed and insured local company. Please call you local Community Action Agency for more information.
Energy efficiency specialists will answer your energy-saving questions and determine your eligibility for a Home Energy Assessment. The assessment includes an analysis of your home's energy use, advice for saving energy and rebate offers on recommended energy improvements. Call 800-632-8300 or visit www.masssave.com for more information.
- Income Eligible Energy Efficiency
If you currently receive NSTAR's Discount Rate, you may be eligible for a free home energy consultation, which may include the installation of conservation measures such as lighting upgrades, insulation and sealing of air leaks and possibly a new refrigerator, freezer, heating system and/or window air conditioning unit if the existing appliance is determined to be eligible and inefficient. Your rate code and usage information appears on your NSTAR bill. If you qualify and would like more information, please contact your local Community Action Agency or visit the Mass Save web site.
Unitil (Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company)
- Customers of Massachusetts' regulated electric and gas companies who receive the low-income discount rate may also be eligible for free energy efficiency services that may include energy audits, electric baseload measures, appliance efficiency services, attic and wall insulation, air sealing and heating system replacement. Contact local Community Action agencies or call 1-800-632-8175.
Please note these charitable funds are last resort emergency funds with limited resources and limited times of operation.
Good Neighbor Energy Fund
Utilities and utility customers fund the Good Neighbor Energy Fund across Massachusetts. The Fund is available to any Massachusetts resident who, because of temporary financial difficulty, cannot meet a month's energy expense and is not eligible for state or federal energy assistance. Income must be within 60-80 percent of the State Median Income. Apply by contacting your local Salvation Army Service Center. If you do not see a Service Center in your local area, please call 339-502-5900. For more information on the fund and how to apply, visit your local Salvation Army Service Center, please call:
1-800-334-3047 (serving area codes 508, 617, 781 and 978) or
1-800-262-1320 (serving area code 413)
UniBank Fuel Assistance Fund
Funds may be available to Blackstone Valley residents who do not qualify under traditional income guidelines, to families who cannot afford the standard 100-gallon minimum delivery amount, or to those families who may have already reached their annual limit for fuel oil benefits. For more information on applying for a grant, contact the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. by calling 508-754-1176. You may also apply in writing or in person at 484 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Worcester, MA 01608.