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What Benefits Will I Get?

How much will I get in energy assistance benefits?

What is crisis intervention?

What is the NM Energy $mart Program?

What other benefits might I get?

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How much will I get in energy assistance benefits?

If you are eligible for energy assistance, the amount you will get is determined by a point system. The more points you receive, the larger your heating assistance benefit will be.  Points are assigned on the basis of:

  • Household size (1-3 points; larger households get more points)
  • Household's energy costs (0-3 points; households with a greater heating cost burden get more points)
  • Household income (1-3 points; those with less income receive more points)
  • Vulnerable population category (2 points per category, if a household has one or more members who are: age 5 or under, age 60 or over, or if any member is disabled).

The total number of points your household receives is multiplied by a "point value" to determine the amount of your benefit.

New Mexico LIHEAP benefits for 2010 are $20 per point value.

Income Support Division (ISD) publishes these guidelines each year, available at their website.

Note: It is important to point out that New Mexico gets a fixed amount of money each year from the federal government for LIHEAP heating assistance. If this money runs out, the state may approve extra funding, but there is no guarantee that more funds will become available. This means that even if you meet the eligibility requirements for energy assistance, it is possible you will not receive any benefit if the funds have already been used up. To be safe, you should apply early in the heating season.

What is crisis intervention?

LIHEAP crisis intervention services help people who are facing a home energy crisis such as a utility disconnect notice, or no money to pay for fuel. These services are for households that meet LIHEAP eligibility requirements, but have not yet received a LIHEAP benefit during the current program year. For eligibility information, see Am I eligible for crisis intervention?

If you qualify for LIHEAP crisis intervention, the ISD will contact your utility company or fuel vendor and try to resolve your problem. The ISD will respond within 48 hours. In the case of a life-threatening crisis, they will respond within 18 hours.

The ISD will try to work out a plan with your utility company or fuel supplier to make sure you have the fuel you need for heating or cooling your home. If the ISD cannot resolve your problem, they will refer you to other community organizations that might be able to help you.

What is the NM Energy $mart Program?

The NM Energy $mart Program is a government program to help low-income households lower their fuel bills by making their homes more energy efficient. You may qualify for free weatherization services if you meet the LIHEAP income limits.

Funding for NM Energy $mart Program is limited, and priority is given to the lowest income households, especially households with young children, seniors, or disabled household members. If you are not in one of these preference categories, you may be placed on a waiting list for weatherization services.

What other benefits might I get?

In addition to the energy assistance benefit, crisis intervention, and weatherization services, households that are eligible for LIHEAP may also qualify for these benefits:

  • Emergency heating system repair and replacement: When funding is available and there is a health or safety reason, eligible homeowners can have their heating units and/or hot water heaters repaired or replaced free of charge.

  • Utility companies offer assistance with heating bills for low income customers, for example, the PNM Good Neighbor Fund. Contact your local utility company for more information.

  • Low Income Telephone Assistance Program (LITAP): This program is for low-income households who qualify for LIHEAP or for Medicaid. If you qualify, you will get a discount on your local telephone service and telephone installation charges. You can apply for LITAP on your LIHEAP application. You do not need a separate application.

  • Home energy use analysis: These services, offered by the utility companies, help you find ways to save energy in your home.

  • Discount propane fuel: Many propane dealers have agreed to give LIHEAP recipients a discount rate.

  • Utility disconnect delay: From November 15th to March 15th each year, New Mexico law requires utility companies to wait 15 days before shutting off service to households who are eligible for LIHEAP assistance. LIHEAP households that agree to a payment plan and make payments on time will not have their service disconnected. In general, utility companies must give you 15 days notice before disconnecting service. In cases of serious illness or financial hardship, your service will not be disconnected if you agree to a payment plan.

If you are interested in any of these benefits, you should ask about them when you apply for energy assistance.

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