Category: Government Benefits and Programs
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), a division of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), has announced the 2019 awardees of Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) grant funding.
The nine (9) service agencies awarded a total of $54.3 million in MEAP grant funds for utility assistance and self-sufficiency programs are:
Utility Bill Payment Assistance Limitations
Utility bill payment assistance is a critical issue in Michigan due to the implications of health and safety especially for children, seniors, and the disabled during the harsh winter months. Additionally, assistance programs remain insufficient to meet the needs of the many low-income households with rising energy costs in the region.
According to the 2017 Home Energy Affordability Gap report, it is estimated that of the 977,5,000 eligible households for utility assistance falling 150% below the poverty line in 2017, less than 500,000 received energy assistance through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), State Emergency Relief (SER), and/or the Home Heating Credit.
Besides an increase in funding levels from $49.5 million for the 2017-18 funding year to $54.3 million for FY19, a streamlined system has been implemented to broaden the reach of these programs and ensure continuity of care. As well, eligible households may qualify for both short and long-term assistance as well as financial and other energy-related supportive services.
Low-income households in Michigan may seek utility bill payment assistance in two ways:
The assistance limit for State Emergency Relief (SER) funds are $850 for electric and $850 for heat, that’s a total of $1700.
Applicants whose account balances exceed the $1700 limit for SER funds may apply for both programs to restore services or reduce past due balances in order to qualify for MEAP assistance programs such as the Low-Income Self-Sufficiency Plan.
That is, if your service has been disconnected, you must apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) to restore services. Then, you may qualify for long-term assistance through MEAP-funded programs to manage monthly bills.
How to Apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)
The Michigan Public Service Commission has specified some changes in the application process for the 2018-19 funding year.
Applicants must apply directly through the MIBridges website or completing a paper application obtained through local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) offices or community service agencies.
Do not submit the United Way LSP application for assistance.
Two important application changes this year:
Selecting a Service Provider
Households seeking assistance may enroll in utility assistance programs by:
The Community Advocate Network of Michigan will update its Utility Assistance information in the Community Resources section as soon as new reports are released relative to program design changes and anticipated household reach indicators for each service agency.
However, applicants may refer to this information for general information on available services and eligibility criteria within each community organization.
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Community Resources Section – Federal Poverty Levels (FPL) Chart & Utility Assistance
Michigan Energy Assistance Grants
Energy Security in Michigan: The Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) Funding Factor
Michigan Energy Assistance Programs (MEAP) FY19
Michigan State Emergency Relief (SER) Program
Michigan Home Heating Credit
2018-19 MEAP Grant Awards for Low-Income Energy Assistance
The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) Assistance Programs
2017 Home Energy Affordability Gap Report
DTE Energy: Low-Income Self-Sufficiency Program (LSP)
MDHHS Heat and Utilities
Utility Assistance Resources:
DTE Energy – Utility Assistance Programs
PH: (800) 477-4747
Consumers Energy CARE - Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy Program
PH: (800) 477-5050
SEMCO Energy - Payment Assistance Resource Page
PH: (800) 624-2019
United Way 2-1-1
Detroit Water and Sewage Department – Customer Service
PH: (313) 267-8000
Michigan Gas Utilities
PH: (800) 401-6402
Welcome to The Community Advocate Network. My name is Deborah Mitchell, I am a graduate in Social Work and Registered Social Work Technician. My human service background began in 2007 which includes medical case management and service navigation for the indigent population, outpatient mental health counseling with substance use and abuse disorders, supportive employment and job development for mental health consumers, and structured living domicile management.