Fuel Assistance Program

PACE’s Fuel Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists eligible homeowners and renters in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, and Rochester with their home heating bills during the winter months. Last year, the program served over 10,000 households in the Greater New Bedford area.

About PACE Fuel Assistance

Location: 166 William Street
Hours: 9am-12pm & 1:15pm-4:00pm Mon-Thurs, Fridays reserved for emergencies
Phone: 508-999-9920
Fax: 508-999-3728

Location: 308 Cottage Street (wheelchair accessible)
Hours: 9am-12pm & 1:15pm-4:00pm Mon-Thurs, Fridays reserved for emergencies
Phone: 508-999-4473

Am I eligible for fuel assistance?

Eligibility is based on the gross annual income of all household members. Individuals who are self-employed, own additional property, or live in subsidized housing may have additional requirements.

Income Eligibility Guidelines
•     For assistance calculating your household’s gross income, use our Do You Qualify for Fuel Assistance Worksheet.
•     For benefit amounts and other household sizes, please see our Income Eligibility and Benefit Levels sheet.

How do I apply?

Please call us at 508-999-9920 for information on applying or to schedule an appointment. Our offices in New Bedford are located at 166 William Street and 308 Cottage Street. Our Cottage Street location is fully handicap accessible. Staff will let you know what you need to bring to your appointment when you call or stop in. Generally, clients must bring the following:

•     Proof of income from the last 30 days for everyone in the household 18 years or older. If someone 18 years or older is a           full-time student, please submit a letter from their school or college verifying enrollment.
•     Social Security card or Birth Certificate for all members of the household.
•     Picture ID for the person applying
•     Copy of your lease, a rent receipt, or mortgage statement showing housing cost
•     Gas/electric bills or account numbers

Additional information may be required to complete your application.

For a checklist of items needed, please see our What to Bring Checklist.

For more details on what information can be used to prove your income, please see our Documentation by Income Source sheet.

Emergency Situations

If you have no heat, a shutoff notice, or are nearly out of fuel, please call our office immediately at 508-999-9920 and follow the menu to report your emergency, even if it is after business hours or not a work day. Emergency situations are given priority.

If the household’s primary heating system is in need of repair or replacement, please see the details about our Heating System Repair and Replacement Program below.

Heating System Repair and Replacement Program (HEARTWAP)

This program, also known as the Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Program, exists to repair or replace primary heating systems. Homeowners who qualify for Fuel Assistance are eligible. In winter, priority is given to clients with no heat or unsafe heating situations. In order to be eligible for this program, you have to be eligible for fuel assistance first. Please see the information above or call 508-999-9920 for more information about applying. If you have no heat or an unsafe system, please mention that when you call.

Weatherization Program

The Weatherization Program helps clients install attic and/or wall insulation, and to perform air sealing measures to prevent loss of heat from your home. Clients who are eligible for fuel assistance are eligible for weatherization help. Priority is given to the elderly, disabled, and households with young children. Please see the information above or call 508-999-9920 for more information about applying.

Appliance Management Program (AMP)

The Appliance Management Program may be able to replace older, inefficient appliances such as refrigerators and freezers after an auditor reviews your electricity usage. Homeowners and tenants are eligible.

Program Forms
Application Addendum
Child Support/Alimony Form
Financial Assistance Statement
Low Income/No Income Interview Form
Proxy Authorization Form
No Income/Zero Income Form
Income from Odd Jobs Form

Resources

What to Bring Checklist
Informacion para la aplicacion (Spanish)
Informação para os aplicantes (Portuguese)
Do You Qualify for Fuel Assistance Worksheet
Income Eligibility and Benefit Levels
Documentation by Income Source
Frequently Used Numbers
Eversource Forgiveness Program
Citizens for Citizens Energy Programs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible?

Eligibility is based on the gross annual income of all household members. Individuals who are self-employed, own additional property, or live in subsidized housing may have additional requirements.

Income Eligibility Guidelines



•     For assistance calculating your household’s gross income, use our Do You Qualify for Fuel Assistance Worksheet.
•     For benefit amounts and other household sizes, please see our Income Eligibility and Benefit Levels sheet.

How does the whole process of applying for fuel assistance work?

The process of applying for fuel assistance starts when you make an appointment as a new client. During your intake appointment, which should take less than 30 minutes, one of our staff members will ask you questions about your household and gather information for your application. You will verify that the information gathered is accurate, and your appointment will conclude.

From there, your application will go to another staff member responsible for determining your eligibility for benefits. This process can take up to six weeks, though in many cases it is done much sooner — sometimes even the same day.

Once you are deemed to be eligible, your heating vendor will be notified that you are eligible for fuel assistance. In some cases, this automatically qualifies you for a discount on your utility bills. From this point on, your heating vendor will send us your bills and they become a part of our normal payment cycle. To see if we’ve paid on your bills, you can call 508-984-3316 at any time.

A few months before the next winter, you’ll receive your application in the mail. Now, all you’ll have to do is attach your proof of income or documentation of any changes in your household to this application and mail it back to us. Making a face-to-face appointment is not necessary, though many of our clients do come in for assistance in completing the application.

How will I be notified?

All eligible clients are notified through our automated voice retrieval system. You may call 508-984-3316 at any time to check on the status of your application.

If your application is incomplete or denied, you will receive a letter from us in the mail detailing why, and what you need to complete your application or appeal a denial.

I got a letter saying my application is incomplete. What do I do?

In some cases, we have to ask clients for more information before determining their eligibility. If you received a letter saying your application is incomplete, please read it carefully and try to provide us with the documentation requested.

If you cannot get what we’re asking for or need help understanding the letter, please give us a call at 508-999-9920. If you applied at our Cottage Street location, please call 508-999-4473.

I was approved for less than I think I should be receiving. What can I do?

Clients are deemed eligible for a certain benefit amount based on the program’s estimation of their household’s annual income. This estimation is made by looking at the client’s previous four weeks of income using that to predict the client’s annual income. In some cases, this process inflates the annual income of some of our clients whose benefits are determined by a four week time period that includes income they do not ordinarily receive.

All clients can check their application status and benefit level by calling our automated voice retrieval system at 508-984-3316.

Clients who feel they are eligible for a higher benefit have the right to appeal the program’s decision. To appeal, please contact our office and request an Appeal Form or submit a written request for appeal of your benefit level. Your appeal should be submitted within 20 days of your receipt of notice of eligibility.

Your appeal will be referred to the agency’s Appeals Officer, who will review the agency’s determination and may request new information from you. For example, many clients are able to submit their federal tax return to show their actual annual income is lower than the annual income calculated by the program.

After you submit the requested information to the Appeals Officer, a determination must be made within 20 working days. If that determination does not satisfactorily address the issue, your case may be further appealed to the state. Please call our office for more information about appeals and your appeal rights.

My application was denied. What are my options?

Clients who do not meet the guidelines of the LIHEAP/Fuel Assistance Program cannot be approved for Fuel Assistance and will receive written notice of denial by mail. Additionally, clients may learn of their status via our automated voice retrieval system at 508-984-3316.

Clients who are denied or who feel they are eligible for a higher benefit have the right to appeal the program’s decision. To appeal, please return the offical Appeal Form enclosed with the Denial Notice you receive in the mail. If for some reason you did not receive this form, you may request a new one from our office or submit a written request for appeal. Your appeal should be submitted within 20 days of your receipt of notice of ineligibility.

Your appeal will be referred to the agency’s Appeals Officer, who will review the agency’s determination and may request new information from you. For example, many clients are able to submit their federal tax return to show their actual annual income is lower than the annual income calculated by the program.

After you submit the requested information to the Appeals Officer, a determination must be made within 20 working days. If that determination does not satisfactorily address the issue, your case may be further appealed to the state. Please call our office for more information about appeals and your appeal rights.

 

Should I still pay my heating bills?

Yes. While we hope your fuel assistance benefit makes heating your home more affordable, your benefit amount may not cover your entire heating bill for the heating season.

What do I need to bring to apply for assistance?

Generally, clients must bring the following:

•     Proof of income from the last 30 days for everyone in the household 18 years or older. If someone 18 years or older is a full-time student, please submit a letter from their school or college verifying enrollment.
•     Social Security card or Birth Certificate for all members of the household.
•     Picture ID for the person applying
•     Copy of your lease, a rent receipt, or mortgage statement showing housing cost
•     Gas/electric bills or account numbers

For a checklist of items needed, please see our What to Bring Checklist.
For more details on what information can be used to prove your income, please see our Documentation by Income Source sheet.

What if I am not a citizen of the United States?

Households that include non-citizens may be eligible for fuel assistance benefits if the non-citizens are “Qualified Aliens” or if at least one member of the household is a United States citizen.

If the household has at least one United States citizen, for example, a child that was born in the United States, the whole household is eligible for a partial benefit.

Documents that establish “Qualified Alien” status for a member of the household include the following: A “green card” (INS Form I-551), a foreign passport or INS I-94 with an unexpired I-551 stamp, an Employment Authorization Card marked with categories A3, A5, or A10, an order granting asylum, or an I-571 Refugee Travel Document.

For questions about citizenship status and eligibility, please call our office at 508-999-9920.

What if my heat is included in my rent?

In some cases, if your heat is included in your rent, you may be eligible to receive a percentage of your rent amount during the heating season. Certain rental subsidies may disqualify you. Feel free to call our office for more information.

What if my utility bills are in someone else’s name?

You can still apply for fuel assistance if your utility bills are in someone else’s name. If the person whose name appears on the bill is not a member of your household, we will ask you to provide us with proof of address for that person.

When should I expect a response to my application?

It can take four to six weeks for us to process an application and make a determination, though in many cases, we are able to process them much faster. You can call our automated line to retrieve information about your application and eligibility at any time at 508-984-3316. If you have other questions about your application, you can call us at 508-999-9920.

When will checks to heat-included-in-rent clients be available?

Reimbursement checks for winter heating costs for clients whose heating costs are included in their rent are typically available by the end of February.