Are you trying to find a way to pay your heating bill so you can stay warm during the winter months? You’re not alone. More than 100-thousand Maryland households get help every year with their utility bills, including heat.
Emergency Help With A Heating Bill
There are a number of options for eligible households:
- Grant from the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP)
- Fuel Fund
- Turn-off protection during the winter
- Help from local charities or faith-based organizations
- Weatherization programs
So, how do you find the best help for your situation?
- Call 2-1-1. Our empathetic resource specialists can connect you.
- Search our database for “Fuel Assistance” and “Utility Assistance” to find state grants and local organizations willing to help with heating bills.
- Learn about the heating assistance programs available in Maryland.
Now, that you know where to look for help, we’ll identify and detail the qualifications for a few of the popular programs. If you’re ready to apply for help, follow this step-by-step guide so you avoid common mistakes and get help quickly.
I Need Help With My Heating Bill
Income-eligible Maryland households may qualify for heating help from the Office of Home Energy Programs. You do not need a turn-off notice to receive funding.
There are a number of grants available through OHEP to make utility bills more affordable so you can stay warm during the winter.
The Maryland Energy Assistance Program or MEAP is an income-based program that offers help with heating bills. The OHEP grant pays your fuel supplier or utility on your behalf.
During the winter, families are protected from having their heat turned off through the Utility Service Protection Program or USPP. All MEAP eligible customers are offered this protection.
If you have electric heat in your home, the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel, recommends you select both MEAP and EUSP on the home energy assistance application. They put together an informational video so you know what to expect when it’s time to fill out the energy assistance application for help with your heating bill.
The Gas Arrearage Retirement Assistance (GARA) program helps customers with past-due electric and gas bills that are more than $300. Eligible customers can receive up to $2,000 toward their utility bill.
Be mindful when you apply for this grant as it’s only available to customers once every seven years, with certain exceptions.
Ready to apply for help? Follow this step-by-step guide, so you fill out the application correctly, avoid common mistakes and gather the documents you’ll need to get help quickly.
If you’re ready to go straight to the application, apply now for energy assistance benefits in Maryland.
Maryland Fuel Fund
OHEP grants may not cover your entire heating bill. If you need additional help after you’ve applied for state grants, you may qualify for additional help through the Fuel Fund of Maryland.
You can also apply to the Fund if you’re denied energy assistance from OHEP and you have a BGE turn-off notice or are out of bulk fuel during the winter heating months, November through March. You can only receive money from the fund once per year.
Just like OHEP, there are income guidelines with the Fuel Fund. Currently, you qualify if you make less than $52,400 for a family of four. Check for the latest income guidelines, as they are subject to change.
If you make more money, and still need help, reach out to the Fuel Fund as they do have some flexibility with income qualifications.
Other Ways To Get Help With A Heating Bill
The 211 Maryland database offers over 7,000 resources, including help for those struggling with heating bills.
There are a number of local faith-based organizations and charities that may offer additional financial assistance to local families. You can find these groups by searching 211 Maryland resources.
You can also take steps to make your home more energy-efficient. This can help in the winter and the summer months. Caulking windows, sealing doors and insulation are great ways to lower utility costs.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has a number of programs to help all homeowners improve the efficiency of their home. The programs help with insulation, furnace repair and replacement, hot water system improvements and other health and safety improvements.
There are also weatherization and energy-efficient programs available to low-income Maryland residents. You may qualify for a no-cost energy audit to identify areas of concern and home repairs. The income-eligible program is offered at the local level.