Fuel assistance program opens for 2022-23 season
OCTOBER 31, 2022
CONTACT: Ellen M. Ganley, Director of Policy, Public Affairs & Advancement
O: 508-762-9807
C: 508-826-7885
Worcester, Massachusetts - Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. officially opens its 2022-23 season for home heating assistance on November 1, 2022. As has been widely reported throughout mainstream media, it is expected to be an extremely challenging home heating winter season with retail prices for energy at or near multi-year highs across the United States. WCAC's Home Heating Assistance program stands at the ready to help as many eligible households as possible secure the help they need. 

WCAC’s federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), best known as fuel assistance or home heating assistance, helps homeowners and renters pay home heating bills and past due balances on utility bills. Financial assistance is available for income-eligible households to help pay home heating bills incurred between November 1 – April 30 of each year. Applications for assistance can be submitted at any point during that time.

Many households are surprised to learn they are eligible for assistance. Eligibility is based on a households combined income. For the 2022-23 heating season for example, a household of four can be earning just over $80,000 and be eligible for some assistance. Additional information about eligibility and how to apply can be found on WCAC's website at www.wcac.net/fuel-assistance/

"We will continue our advocacy efforts with our elected state and federal officials to secure additional fuel assistance funding, while working to bolster new donations to WCAC's Emergency Fuel Fund through private, foundation and financial institutional giving," noted WCAC Executive Director Marybeth Campbell. "We encourage anyone struggling with home heating bills to reach out to us for assistance."

For new/first time clients: An online application portal is now available. Access the online application and view the various documents required in order for your application to be certified here: wcac.net/first-time-applicants/

  • Please be sure to include all members of your household on your application, including children. Your benefit is determined by the number of people who live in the household and your combined income. See chart to help determine your eligibility.   
  • For faster processing, online applicants should be prepared to upload supporting documents listed below from your phone, tablet or computer.  It is strongly recommended to have them with you before you start the process.   
  • You may also mail, fax or email documents to WCAC after you submit the application. Please mail documents to us at 18 Chestnut Street, Suite 500, Worcester, MA 01608.
  • Drop Box remains available at our 484 Main Street, Worcester office, on second floor of the Denholm Building. Free self-service copy services available Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For returning clients/households who have received fuel assistance previously: recertification is required each year. Applications for recertification have been sent out via US mail. If you have not received yours or need to request replacement, please email LIHEAP@wcac.net

Noting that the agency has seen an uptick of nearly 200% in first-time applicants and had already received more than 8,000 applications prior to the November 1st opening, WCAC's Director of Energy Resources Mary Knittle encouraged the public's patience during this challenging season. "Given the volume of applications we receive it can take quite some time for your application to be processed," Knittle said. "Please be patient. You can check the status of your application through our 24/7 automated phone system by calling 508.796.2423 and follow the voice prompts."

Beyond applying for home heating assistance, WCAC recommends several other steps to consider in order to help save money as it relates to keeping your home warm.

  • Income eligible households often qualify for a Discounted Rate on Electric and Gas Utilities -doing so can save you upwards of 25% on monthly bills all year. (Contact your utility to inquire about eligibility). From November 15 to March 15 there is a moratorium in place that prevents the shutting off of your gas or electric for non-payment if you are receiving the discount rates from the publicly-held utilities. But know that you will still owe payment for your bills. To avoid falling into debt, enroll in a budget installment plan with your utility.  
  • Tenants and homeowners can get an Energy Audit which can identify potential no-cost upgrades such as insulation, heating system repair and/or inefficient appliance replacement—including Refrigerators, freezers, washers and more! 
  • Use a programable thermostat which allows for moderate heat settings and adjustments based on when heat is needed most based on household activity.

Communities served by WCAC's Home Heating Assistance Program: Worcester, Auburn, Brookfield, Boylston, Charlton, Charlton City, Charlton Depot, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Holden, Jefferson, Leicester, Cherry Valley, Rochdale, Millbury, North Brookfield, Oakham, Oxford, North Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Fiskdale, Sutton, Manchaug, Warren, West Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield.

If your community doesn't fall within WCAC's service area visit www.HeatingHelpMA.org to find the organization which does.
About WCAC

Since 1965, the Worcester Community Action Council has served as the federally designated anti-poverty agency for central and southern Worcester County, with a mission of helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships and advocacy.

Serving the City of Worcester and 45 neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield and Westborough.
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