How to Apply for Energy Assistance in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Home Energy Plus offers two energy assistance programs for low-income residents. The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, which runs each year from October 1 to May 15, helps approximately 230,000 residents with wood, propane, natural gas, electricity and fuel oil heating and electric costs. WHEAP assistance may also be available during an energy crisis situation. Eligibility for both programs depends on income and family size.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for energy assistance, your combined household gross income must be at or below 60 percent of the Wisconsin state median income for your family size. For example, the maximum qualifying gross income for the 2014-2015 heating season for a family of four was $48,367. However, the exact amount for which you would qualify also depends on your household’s energy costs. In all cases, WHEAP pays only a portion of total heating costs, not the entire bill.

Application Procedures

There is no online application system for WHEAP energy assistance. Download an application from the WHEAP website or get one from your local agency. The Wisconsin Home Energy Plus website has location and contact information for each county and tribe application center. The website also has a checklist that lists documentation requirements. Fill out and submit the application and required verification documents by mail or in person, according to the county in which you live or the tribe to which you belong.

What Happens Next

After reviewing your application and determining whether you meet the eligibility criteria, a WHEAP representative will contact you to set up an in-person meeting. If you qualify, you’ll find out how much assistance WHEAP will provide. In most cases, the benefit payment is sent directly to the energy supplier or the electric company.

Emergency Assistance

An energy emergency is one in which you have no heat, have received a disconnection notice or are almost out of heating fuel and cannot afford to purchase more. Applying for emergency assistance works differently than for the regular WHEAP program. Each local agency has a 24-hour telephone number for applying for emergency assistance. Although counties and tribes set their own eligibility guidelines, assistance usually is subject to availability of funds and other limitations. For example, in Milwaukee County, you must have made at least four payments of $35 or more in the past six months to your energy provider and not have received an crisis benefit payment in the past 12 months or three payments within the past five years.


About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.