Fuel Assistance FAQ
Who can apply for Fuel Assistance (FAP)?
Anyone living in New Hampshire, owner or renter can apply for the Fuel Assistance Program (FAP). Southern New Hampshire Services, Inc. (SNHS) covers all of Hillsborough County. RCA covers all of Rockingham County.
How do you qualify?
Eligibility for NH Fuel Assistance is based on four requirements: The household is in NH, the household size, the household income level and responsibility for energy costs of $100 or more, directly or through rent.
When does Fuel Assistance open?
Fuel Assistance is officially open this year from December 1st through April 30th. Pre-applications are taken from July 1st.
Do you have to apply every year?
The Fuel Assistance Program is a winter program. You have to reapply every year.
When can you apply?
Priority families, elderly, disabled and families with young children under 6 can pre-apply after July 1st. All others can pre-apply after September 1st.
How do you apply?
If you were on Fuel Assistance the prior year, you will receive a mail in application either in July for priority households or in September for all others. These must be filled out completely and received at SNHS by October 15th. After that date, you must call to make an appointment to be seen in person at one of our intake sites.
If you were not on Fuel Assistance the prior year, you must call to make an appointment to be seen in person at one of our intake sites.
Do I need to repay the Fuel Assistance Benefit?
Fuel Assistance benefits are a grant and do not need to be repaid.
Where do I apply for Fuel Assistance?
The Manchester, Nashua and Peterborough offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30. Other offices are open specific days as indicated. Except where noted, all Rockingham County offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.
- Manchester, 160 Silver St., 647-4470, 1-800-322-1073
- Nashua, 134 Allds St., 889-3440, 1-877-211-0723
- Peterborough, The River Center, 46 Concord St., 924-2243, 1-877-757-7048
- Hillsboro, 63 West Main St., Monday and Friday, 464-5835
- Milford, Library Annex, Tuesday and Thursday, 673-0756
- Greenville, 56 Main St., Wednesday (starting December 1), 878-3364
- Antrim, The Grapevine, Thursday (starting December 1), 924-2243
- Portsmouth, 4 Cutts St., 436-3896, 1-800-639-3896
- Raymond, 55 Prescott Rd., 895-2303, 1-800-974-2303
- Seabrook, 683 Lafayette Rd., 474-3507, 1-800-979-3507
- Derry, 9 Crystal Ave., 965-3029, 1-800-939-9172
- Salem, 85 Stiles Rd., Ste. 103, 603-893-9172, 1-800-939-9172
What happens when I call for an appointment?
When you call for an appointment, you will be asked questions that will help the appointment clerk determine what you will need to bring in to your interview. You will be given a specific date and time to minimize the time you have to wait in the office. You could receive a letter in the mail confirming the date and time. The letter will also have a list of items that you need to bring to your appointment. This documentation is needed to determine whether or not you are eligible.
Is there a general list of what is needed?
We will need the name, date of birth and social security number for each person in the household. For statistical purposes only, we will ask you if each of these people has health insurance, if they are students or what their last grade in school was or is, what their ethnicity is, whether or not they receive disability pay, if they receive food stamps and whether they are self employed. We are also asking for your social security cards and your tax returns.
We will ask household information such as the type of heating fuel used, whether the applicant or landlord pays the heat, the number of rooms not counting halls and bathrooms, the type of housing, single family, duplex or multi and whether the applicant owns or rents.
Homeowners will be asked to bring in a copy of their mortgage statement. All renters must have a landlord verification form completed and signed by both the applicant and the landlord.
How much income documentation do I need to apply?
We will need proof of all the income earned by all the people in the household for 30 days prior to your appointment date. These dates will be on your appointment letter. If you are self employed, receive commissions, have rental property, or received a disbursement from an annuity or a retirement plan, then we will need a full year of income to determine your eligibility. You will also need to provide the most recent tax return with all the forms attached.
What if I am over income for that 30 day period but I had just gone back to work?
If you are over income for the initial 30 day period, then we are allowed to look back either at a “Year to Date” period or a full “365 days”. This allows us to average out the income received over the past year. We cannot look beyond the 365 days.
How is my application processed?
An intake person will work on your application and bring it to the point of completion within 30 days. The application must then be certified (reviewed) by a senior staff person to determine that the application was completed correctly. If so, the certifier will enroll the application.
How will I know that I am qualified?
You will receive a letter of authorization in the mail that will tell you how much your benefit is and to whom it is assigned. It is usually assigned to your heating fuel vendor if you pay your own heat or to your landlord if the heat is included in the rent.
How will my heating fuel vendor know that I am qualified?
Your heating fuel vendor will receive a letter of credit telling them that you qualified for a benefit. It will also tell them the benefit amount.
What if my heat is included in the rent?
If your heat is included in the rent and you are not subsidized, the landlord will receive a letter telling them the benefit amount. A voucher will be sent to you stating what will be paid. You must sign it and have the landlord sign it as well. Once both signatures are on the voucher, you must send it back to SNHS. A check will be made out to the landlord on your behalf up to the benefit amount. The benefit will not be paid unless we have a signed voucher.
How will my fuel bills be paid?
Fuel assistance benefits are paid out to the vendor when the service is received. Fuel vendors will deliver fuel to your household and then will bill SNHS for the fuel that you received. The bills will be paid directly to the vendor on your behalf up to the benefit amount or until the season ends. Once notified of your eligibility and if your benefit is assigned to a utility, (electric heat or natural gas), the utility will send us a copy of your monthly bill. This will be paid up to the benefit amount or when the season ends on April 30th.
What bills can be paid?
If you have electric heat or heat with natural gas, bills from November 1st can be paid until your benefit amount is used up or the program year ends.
If you heat with deliverable fuels, oil, kerosene, propane, wood and coal, we can pay for deliveries made on and after October 1st up to April 30th or when your benefit amount is all used up.
If your heat is included in the rent and you are not subsidized, we can apply your benefit to rent due from October 1st to April 30th. Typically, the benefit does not cover a full month, therefore, most people receive one payment during the program year.
What if I don’t use the full benefit amount?
If you don’t use the full benefit amount then the remaining amount will be returned to the general program.
Why would my application be denied?
The application may be denied if you are over income, if you did not provide all the documentation required, if you already received a benefit for the current program year, if your heat in included in the rent and your rent is subsidized or for other miscellaneous reasons.
How will I know that my application is denied?
You will know that your application is denied when you receive a letter from us telling you. The letter will also state the reason for denial. A Fair Hearing notice will be included to advise you of your rights in case you disagree with the findings.
If I receive Section 8 or some other subsidy, can I apply?
If your rent is subsidized but you pay your own heat, you can qualify for a Fuel Assistance benefit that will be payable to your fuel vendor.
If your rent is subsidized but the heat is included in the rent, you will be denied for Fuel Assistance as you are not vulnerable. You could be eligible for the Electric Assistance Program if you are responsible for your own electric costs and the bill is in your name or the name of another adult living in your household.
Will I be asked about Weatherization?
You will be asked if you want to participate in the Weatherization Program. This is an opportunity to have your home or apartment checked out by our trained Energy Auditors. They will do some testing to determine if your home is cold, drafty, and in need of more insulation. They will also test to make sure that your heating appliances are safe and do not give off Carbon Monoxide gas.
If there is work that can be done to make your home or apartment warmer and more comfortable as well as safer, we will have the work done at no cost to you. If you are a renter, we will need permission from the landlord. This is an excellent opportunity to have some important improvements done to your house or apartment at no charge. This could save you money on your heating bills as well as make you more comfortable. Not everyone on Fuel Assistance qualifies for Weatherization. Please note that if you do qualify, there is a waiting list. You must reapply every year to stay on the list.
What is the Incentive Program?
The Incentive Program is an extension of the Fuel Assistance Program that is paid when the federal funds are available. An amount of $75 may be paid to the vendors & landlords (heat included in rent) in the summer months for those who apply for the Incentive and meet the criteria.
For deliverable fuels such as oil, propane, kerosene, coal and renters with heat included in the rent: On May 31st, the applicant must not owe their vendor or landlord any past due amounts. FAP will pay $75 to the vendor or landlord. These funds may be used to purchase fuel in the summer or fall months when the cost is lower or help pay the rent for heat included in the rent.
For utility customers, electric heat and natural gas heat, the applicant must have no past due amount on their bill on May 31st. An amount of $75.00 will be paid to the utility on their behalf if they meet these requirements.
What is a Supplemental Program?
Supplemental Programs are very rare as they are usually funded by emergency funds. The Office of Energy and Planning would make the determination if the money is available to fund a Supplemental Program. This program could take various forms depending on the situation and current prices of heating fuel. Should we have one, it would be handled at the office by the computer system. You would not have to re-apply if you are eligible. A letter would be sent to you and to your vendor to notify you of any additional benefit.
If it looks like I am close or slightly over the income guidelines, should I apply?
Yes, there are three good reasons why you should let us make the determination if you are eligible or not.
First, sometimes a person will be slightly over the guideline by their calculations but they are eligible by ours. That might be because there are some income types that are not counted or are only partially counted.
Second, there are times that the Office of Energy and Planning increases the guidelines during the year if funds are available. If you are over income and then become eligible with an increase in the income guidelines, you will not need to reapply. Your application will be made eligible at the office and you will receive a letter in the mail telling you of your eligibility.
Third, we sometimes have other funds specifically targeted to households that do not qualify for fuel who are in an emergency. You would not know about these, nor would you be eligible unless you apply for Fuel Assistance.
Are there other programs available to help with heating fuel or electric bills?
Yes, if you apply for Fuel Assistance we would have you apply for Electric Assistance as well. Depending on the outcome of your application and what situation you are in, we may also take an application for the Neighbor Helping Neighbor program or other emergency programs that might be available at the time.
What if you can’t help me?
If all of our programs cannot help you, then we would refer you to other places that might be of assistance to you. These might be Town or State welfare, churches or other agencies that may be able to meet your need.
If applicable, we would also refer to our other SNHS programs. These could be WIC: Women Infant and Children, CSFP: Commodity Surplus Food Program, Head Start and Early Head Start.
Is there anything else that I should know about Fuel Assistance?
Please know that if you need help with your heating fuel or your utility costs, you should call us to see if we can help in any way. We are here to help you!