Energy Assistance Application Instructions
NOTE: This is a resource to help refugee families receive a discount on their energy bills. Case Managers usually walk through this with the refugee families, but if you or your group wants to be involved just let us know! We will give you instructions on when and how to go about this process. The below information is instructions on how to fill out the application and how to help a refugee family understand their energy bills.
During the first month of sponsorship:
Make sure the family knows if they pay for electric and heat or if it is the landlord’s responsibility. If the family pays their own bill, make sure they have set up service in their name. If you are unsure, check in with their case manager.
- Residents of Minneapolis may receive two bills from two different companies if they are responsible for both gas and electric (CenterPoint for gas and Xcel for electric).
- Residents of St. Paul will receive one bill from Xcel Energy.
During the second month of sponsorship:
As soon as the family receives their first utility bill(s) and the head of household receives his/her Social Security Number, fill out the Energy Assistance (EA) Application with the family.
How to fill out the application:
PART 1: Social Security Number, name, address, phone number, and contact information
- Ask if the family would like someone from MCC to be their Authorized Representative. That person is able to contact Community Action on their behalf.
- Volunteers: DO NOT put your own name down on the form. Put down the name of the family’s case manager.
- PART 2: Include the names of all people living in the household and provide income verification. If the family has been in the country for less than three months, fill out the Date of Arrival Verification Letter MCC has provided.
- Only the SSN of the head of household is required for the application.
- Everyone who lives in the household must be listed, including minor children.
- Income verification only needs to be provided for household members over the age of 18 who either work or receive public benefits.
- IF THE FAMILY RECEIVES PUBLIC BENEFITS:
- Ask if your family receives money from the county or receives Match Grant. There are three types of benefits newly arrived families often receive: MFIP, RCA, or Match Grant. If your family doesn’t know what they receive, check in with their MCC Case Manager.
- Some guidelines when filling out the income section:
- If the family has minor children, it is likely that the family receives MFIP (MN Family Investment Program) or Match Grant.
- If the family receives MFIP/Match Grant, ONLY the person whose name is on the MFIP/Match Grant statement should be counted as having income.
- If the family/household does not have minor children, then it is likely that each single adult, or married couple, receive RCA (Refugee Cash Assistance).
- If the household is made up of single, unmarried adults, each person will have their own RCA statement and should be counted as having income
- If the household is comprised of a married couple without children, they will only have one RCA statement, and only the person listed on the RCA statement should be counted as having income
- NOTE: It is possible for one household to receive both RCA and MFIP if there are adults with minor children, and single adults in the same household.
- Regardless of the program, the family will have received monthly statements reporting the assistance they’ve received in the mail. It is important to include copies of the past three months (OR as many as received) of these statements. Families will not receive public benefits the first month they are in the country, so if you are applying before they’ve received any money from the county or Match Grant, simply include the MCC form letter verifying the date of arrival.
- Every adult who receives assistance must include their statements. If the family no longer has these documents, they need to go down to the Human Service office from which they receive their benefits (either Ramsey orHennepinCounty) or call their county MFIP/RCA counselor who will be able to print off copies for them.
- If the family receives Food Support, it must be noted as a form of assistance though no documents are needed to verify it because it does not count as income.
- The transitional grant families receive from MCC also does not count as income and does not need to be noted on their Energy Assistance application.
IF SOMEONE IN THE HOUSEHOLD IS WORKING: Make a copy of the past three months of pay stubs and attach it to the application. Use the guidelines at the bottom of EA application page 2 for which three months of income verification to supply. If they have been working for less than three months, attach whatever pay stubs they have already received and be sure to include the Date of Arrival Letter provided by MCC.
- PART 3: Fill in information about type of housing, how long the family has lived there, how much they pay in rent, and landlord contact information. If you or the family doesn’t know any of this information, contact the family’s case manager.
- PART 4: Put “1” by the heating source used most frequently (in most cases this will be natural gas) and “2” by any other heating source used in the house (in most cases this will be electricity).
- If the family uses electric space heaters or has electric baseboards, put a “1” next to electric as the major heating source.
- If the family only uses gas to heat their house, check the box which states that 30% of the grant should be applied toward an electric bill.
- If you are unsure about the heating source, put “1” for gas and “2” for electric. Be sure to include the name of the energy company (ies) and the account numbers under both the Heating and the Electric boxes. This information can be found on the family’s utility bill(s).
- PART 5: Ask family if they want to be connected with these additional Community Action services. Most families will decline these services and that is okay – they may not be essential or directly applicable to the client. Also, declining these services will not affect the outcome of their application.
- PART 6: Cold Weather Rule protection:
- The Cold Weather Rule protects families from having their heat turned off in the winter because of failure to pay a heating bill.
- By signing up for Energy Assistance the family pre-qualifies for Cold Weather Rule Protection.
- HOWEVER, they must contact the utility company themselves and set up a payment plan in order to stay protected. They must do this before their heat source is turned off for failure to make payment.
- You and your sponsorship family should call the utility company together as you fill out the EA form (or within a few days of filling out the form). When calling, ask the person listed on the utility bill to say:
- Translator _language .
- I just applied for Energy Assistance.
- I want Cold Weather Rule Protection.
- The company will walk them through the rest of the process.
- NOTE: signing up for a payment plan does not affect a family’s Energy Assistance award.
- PART 7: Consent and Signature
- ONCE THE FORM IS COMPLETED: Be sure to attach a copy of the family’s most recent heating bill, the form letter supplied in this packet by MCC as well as all relevant financial documentation detailing income. Return the completed form in person or by mail to the family’s local Community Action office for processing:
If in St. Paul, send to:
Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties
450 Syndicate Street North, Suite122
St Paul, MN55104
Tel: (651) 645-6470
If in Minneapolis, send to:
Energy Service Program
2104 Park Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Tel: (612) 335-5837
NOTE: Energy Assistance Awards are given on a first come, first served basis. Applications are available between October 1st and May 31st. Turn Energy Assistance applications in as soon as possible!