Energy Assistance Resources
By Nicholas Goodman, MiCAFE Network Specialist
Fall has arrived, and with it approaches a need for weatherization and utility assistance programs. If you are working with a client who needs assistance with energy bills, there are resources they should know about.
MDHHS is changing State Emergency Relief (SER), effective October 1, 2018.
Crisis season has been eliminated. A household may receive SER assistance with heat once a year, and assistance with non-heat electricity once a year. A year is defined as the fiscal year which begins October 1st and ends September 30th.
You can help clients apply for SER by logging into MI Bridges through MiSOAP. The Key Benefit Screening on MiSOAP has been updated to align with SER changes. After completing an SER application in MI Bridges, you will be prompted to refer the client to a MEAP agency which can provide additional utility assistance.
Other resources for energy assistance include the Weatherization Assistance Program. Clients eligible for this energy-saving program may receive free in-home services such as improvements to insulation or installation of florescent light bulbs. There are agencies statewide who can assist clients with applying for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
As a reminder, in Michigan, gas and electric companies must provide shut-off protection for seniors 65 and over between November 1st and March 31st. Medical conditions may also qualify a client to receive shut-off protection. Receiving shut-off protection is not automatic, it must be initiated by the client contacting their energy provider to discuss their individual situation.