LIEAP Gets Funding By State

By 
Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, May 21, 2020

On Thursday, May 14, Governor Steve Bullock announced he is directing $5 million in federal CARES Act funds to expand assistance to thousands of Montanans struggling to afford their home energy needs due to financial strain caused by COVID-19.  

“Montana families shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their utility bill,” Governor Bullock said. “This funding is critical to keeping families afloat and will give peace of mind to thousands of current LIEAP clients, and to thousands more Montanans who will now be eligible for the program.”

The $5 million in federal funding will be used to provide COVID-19 supplemental assistance to approximately 18,000 current Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) clients. It will also be used to fund the LIEAP Emergency COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program, which the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) estimates will provide energy assistance to an additional 6,000 Montana households. These funds are not part of the $1.25 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund allocated to the state.

Current LIEAP program recipients will automatically receive the supplemental assistance. The supplemental benefit will be applied toward the recipient’s electric bill, since the electricity cost is usually higher during the summer months. Further, current LIEAP clients will be able to have any remaining 2019-2020 season benefit applied to their accounts rather than being returned at the end of the heating season as is normally the case.

Individuals who are not current LIEAP clients can apply for the new Emergency COVID-19 Energy Assistance program by contacting their local LIEAP office. Individuals can also call the toll-free LIEAP number at 1-833-317-1080. 

Eligibility for LIEAP is based on household income and resource limits. The Emergency COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program will use a one-month income (annualized) lookback period to determine eligibility.

Those receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program may qualify automatically. The program will run through August 31, 2020 or until funds are expended.

See  www.lieap.mt.gov for energy assistance

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