As temperatures drop, there are people in Michigan who are unable to keep the heat on in their homes.
In 2019, Michigan reported about 100,000 instances where it helped pay for people’s utility bills, buy heating fuel, or fix or replace a furnace or boiler using State Emergency Relief funds. 2020 isn’t even over yet, but that number has already exceeded 120,000 cases.
Click on the audio player above to hear the state’s Tammy Bair on assistance available for Michigan residents having trouble keeping the heat on.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find a way to keep your house warm, read on for some assistance that’s available to certain Michigan residents.
Home Heating Credit
If you are a qualified Michigan homeowner or renter, the state can help pay some of your heating expenses through the Home Heating Credit. The tax credit primarily assists people who are low income, deaf, disabled, blind or veterans. This is a proactive approach to covering heating costs, not designed to assist with crisis situations. Interested parties need to complete the Home Heating Credit Claim to be eligible. The deadline has passed for 2020 but new applications will be accepted in January. More information can be found here.
The State Emergency Relief Program
This program offers crisis intervention services to help pay for utility bills and heating fuel and to fix or replace furnaces or boilers. It is available to households who have income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level ($12,760 for individuals, $26,200 for a family of 4, see the full list here) and who can normally support themselves but have come upon an emergency situation. The program provides direct payments to energy providers. It’ll pay up to $1,200 for fuel oil or propane and $850 for households that heat their homes with natural gas or electricity. If a homeowner needs a furnace or boiler to be repaired or replaced in order to have heat, they can get assistance up to $4,000, which is a lifetime maximum. The department has 10 days to process an application. Applications can be downloaded online or filled out using the MI Bridges online platform. Help filling out applications is available through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). Find more information on SER here.
Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)
This is a collective of organizations around the state that have received money to work with low-income households to help them get on track paying their energy bills. The groups can help households complete their application for State Emergency Relief. If someone wants to contact a MEAP grantee for assistance, they can reach out directly to one of the organizations on this list or call 211 to find the organization closest to them.
Contact Your Utility Provider
Contact your utility provider to see if a hold can be placed on your account while you seek assistance or to see if you can get on a payment plan.