How do I receive an emPower application?
If you live in a county served and meet the program's requirements, you can access an application by visiting our Resource Search page, enter the county you live in and there will be a list of assistance programs with a printable application. Applications may also be available at your local Department of Health and Human Services' offices, or other agencies.
Once you have filled out the application and have all required documents, you can mail it to (TrueNorth/emPower, PO Box 149, Fremont, MI 49412) or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are unable to print off the application, you can also use our online application (coming soon). This format must have the required documents attached at time of submitting. You may also call us at 231-355-5880 (1-855-300-8013) and we can mail you one.
Spanish applications will be coming soon.
How to fill out the application:
Please pay attention to the application because it has changed from prior years' applications. Do not use any application dated before 2016/2017 version.
Page 1: This page is to provide information regarding applying for assistance.
Page 2: This page provides a checklist of what information is required to send your complete application. This page does not have to be returned with completed application. If you fail to provide the required documents, it will delay your assistance request.
Page 3: If you are 18 years or older, you are allowed to fill out and apply for assistance. We require you to enter your name, contact information, mailing and service address (if different from mailing address), your email address and the county in which you live. You must put all household members' names, birth dates, and all nine-digit social security numbers, including yourself. Please mark anyone who is disabled and indicate whether or not household members are US citizens.
You also need to fill out the section that states, "You Must Answer All Questions".
A person must be a US citizen or a qualified alien to be eligible. Qualified alien means an alien who is one of the following:
»Lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
»Granted asylum under section 208 of the INA.
»A refugee who is admitted to the US under section 207 of the INA.
»Paroled into the US under section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least one year.
»An alien whose deportation is being withheld under section 241(b)(3) or 243(h) of the INA.
»Granted conditional entry pursuant to section 203(a)(7) of the INA.
»A Cuban/Haitian entrant.
»An alien who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the US by a US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent, or by a member of the spouse or parent's family living in the same household, or is the parent or child of a battered person.
HOUSEHOLDS WITH UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN(S)
Undocumented aliens are not eligible, but their presence does not disqualify the household. The following applies to all households containing one or more undocumented aliens:
»Any member of the household may apply as long as they are 18 years or older.
»Include all household member for purposes of determining eligibility for MEAP.
»Include the income of all household members.
DETERMINING ASSISTANCE FOR HOUSEHOLD WITH UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN(S)
emPower will prorate the approved payment by the following:
»We will count the income of all household members, including the undocumented alien(s).
»We will include all household members when determining required payments, affordability and other eligibility requirements.
»The portion of the final MEAP payment is prorated to remove the undocumented alien's share. That share is the prorated amount that the household must pay toward the cost of the service.
NOTE: Household must meet all other eligibility requirements.
Page 4: This page is where you will enter the heat and energy providers that you need help with. You can apply for electric and one other heat source. So if you are past due, have a shut-off notice, or currently shut off with your electric, you may enter your provider's name, account number, and name on the account.
You can apply for primary heat source, if you heat with something other than electric. You would enter the heat source in the designated area and provide all information requested. Remember, you must have 25% or less in propane or fuel oil at time of delivery. You must be past due, have received a shut-off notice, or be currently shut off to apply for natural gas. You must have less than 14 days of wood, wood pellets, coal or other to apply for assistance. Payment will only be approved for the primary heating source and electric.
Once you have applied and received assistance with primary heat source, each and every request for assistance thereafter can only be for the original heat source. Example: If you requested and have been approved for assistance for propane, then each and every time thereafter you can only request assistance with your propane, as well as your electric.
Please note: If you are above 25% in fuel at the time of delivery, TrueNorth will not pay for that delivery. That bill will be your responsibility.
You must also fill out the "Emergency need" information at the bottom of this page.
Page 5: This page is for your household income. You must fill out this portion based on all who are receiving income in the household.
If your household does not receive income, there is a "NO" box that must be checked and you must also check the box that states "I certify the household has no income."
Fill out the "Eligible Income Expenses" portion on the application.
The "If available, tell us what other resources you would be interested in learning about" is only needed to be completed if you would like to receive information on other resources available in each listed category.
Page 6: You must fill out both portions of this page. The "Signature Requirement" section must be signed and dated by the person filling out the application on Page 3; your spouse is not required to sign.
"Identification of application or authorized representative" portion of the "Signature Requirement" section: If the head of the household is unable to fill out the application, the relation to the head of household, or power of attorney, etc. would be indicated in this field and their signature must be included in the "Signature of agency representative".
How do I qualify for heat and energy assistance?
To qualify, you must be at or below 150% of the 2016/17 Federal Poverty Guidelines: 150 FPGL.jpg emPower can only provide financial assistance if the total gross income of everyone living in the home is at or less than the amount listed for your family size. Gross income is the total amount of income before taxes and deductions.
"Federal poverty guidelines" means the poverty guidelines published annually in the federal register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under its authority to revise the poverty line under section 673(2) of subtitle B of title VI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, 42 USC9902.
You must have a past due or shut-off notice on an energy bill. (If there is a prepayment account for natural gas or electric services, a payment cannot be made if the balance exceeds $100). We cannot assist with any accounts that have been referred to a collection agency, or has been identified as Theft/Fraud, or Bankrupt. All Theft/Fraud charges must be paid by the client prior to emPower being able to assist. Fuel oil/propane tank must contain less than 25%, have a below minimum balance on a prepay account, or must have 14 days or less in wood, wood pellets, coal, etc.
What documents are required to apply?
The application must have all individuals listed that are living in the household. You must include their birth date and nine-digit Social Security number.
All pages of the application must be completed, signed and dated.
Person signing and dating the application must provide a readable copy of their ID and Social Security card. The different forms of ID that is accepted are:
»Driver's license. Include copy of the back of the driver's license if an address change has been processed.
»Document indicating a client's receipt of benefits under a program which requires verification of identity (Supplement Security Income, Retirement Survivor's Disability Insurance).
»Identification for health benefits.
»Voter registration card.
»US military card or draft record.
»Certificate of Naturalization (Department of Homeland Security (DHS) forms N-550 or N-570.
»Military dependent's identification card.
»Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, or other US American Indian/Alaska native tribal document.
»US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card.
Proof of the past 30 days of all household income.
Copy of utility bill(s) that you are seeking assistance: (No bill required for propane, fuel oil, firewood, wood pellets, or coal unless you have a past-due balance).
What proofs of income does emPower require?
Household income refers to total cash receipts before taxes from all sources and for all household members.
COUNTABLE EARNED INCOME
»Past 30 days earnings from work as an employee (wages, salary, college work-study, commissions, tips).
»Profit and loss statement for the past 30 days of earnings for self-employment (receipts from an individual's own business or from an owned or rented farm after deductions for business or farm expenses). Deductions for expenses of producing self-employment income (such as capital expenditures, labor costs, transportation costs while on the job, materials, loan and property payments, taxes, insurance, etc.) are not allowed.
»Past 30 days training allowances paid to persons enrolled in sheltered workshops.
»Past 30 days rental income, room and board.
»Past 30 days child development and care (CDC) and chore services payments to providers paid by DHHS.
COUNTABLE UNEARNED INCOME
»FIP (Family Independence Program)
»SDA (State Disability Assistance)
»Social Security Benefits
»RSDI (Retirement Survivor's Disability Insurance)
»SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
»SSI (State Supplemental payments)
»Alimony, child support and child support participation payments
»VA benefits, except clothing allowance or the court ordered amount for aid and attendance
»Lump sum payments of accumulated monthly benefits
»Payments from sick and accident insurance plans
»Pensions and retirement benefits
»Income received from the sale of property
»Investment income, such as dividends, interest and royalties paid directly to the client
»Income from annuities, bonds, stock and trusts
»Adoption subsidy payments
»GAP (Guardianship Assistance Program) payments
EXAMPLES OF ACCEPTABLE INCOME VERIFICATION DOCUMENTATION
Income of all household members must be thoroughly documented and verified using third-party documentation. Client must provide proof of all income for the past 30 days. The following items are examples of acceptable income verification documentation:
»Copies of checks or check stubs for the past 30 days from the date you signed your application. Stubs must include employer name and employee name..
»Written statements from employers. Written statements from the department, organization or person administering the payment, which shows the monthly amount of the benefit, the amount of deductions, and confirming whether or not the deductions are mandatory.
»Written statements of persons paying money to client member in cases where the client provides child care, chore services, room and board, or other services for pay.
»Alimony or spousal support statements/letters.
»Interest, annuities or dividends statements/letters.
»Your current award letters for unearned income that is only verified once per year such as SSI, Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits, or pension/retirement income.
»DHS-38, Verification of Employment.
»Accounting other business records for self-employed persons.
»Electronic data exchange with reliable income sources.
INCOME WE DO NOT COUNT
»Federal tax return refund.
»Reimbursement of Medicare premiums.
»Income in kind (not in form of cash).
»Earned income for a dependent child when both of the following conditions are met:
•The accumulated earnings are held in a savings account of which the dependent child who earned the money is the sole owner.
•The accumulated earnings are not commingled with money from another source.
»Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit and Home Heating Credit.
»Earned Income Credit.
»All services program benefits paid by DHHS on behalf of a household member (such as foster care and Child Development and Care payments.
»Income of the applicant's spouse when the application is in an emergency shelter as a victim of domestic violence.
»Reimbursement for past, current or future training-related, medical or volunteer expenses.
»Compensation awarded for a particular use (such as Victim's Compensation Award).
»Disaster relief assistance.
»Education grants, scholarships and benefits.
»Michigan Department of Community Health family support subsidy payments.
»WIC program benefits.
»Title VII nutrition program for the elderly.
»LIHEAP energy assistance benefits.
»Child nutrition and school lunch benefits.
»FAP (Food Assistance Program benefits).
»A utility allowance that is part of a state or federal housing assistance program.
»Housing assistance that is paid pursuant to any state or federal law, including:
•Title II of the Uniform Relocation and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970.
•US Housing Act of 1937
•Experimental Housing Allowance Program made under Annual Contribution Contracts entered into prior to January 1, 1975.
•National Housing Act.
•Section 101 of the Housing and Urban Development Act (HUD) of 1965.
•Housing Choice Voucher Program (previously known as Section 8 Housing).
•Household members who are absent from the home for 90 consecutive days or more are excluded from the household and therefore, their income is excluded.
WHAT DOES "IN THE PAST 30 DAYS" MEAN?
TrueNorth's emPower program is required by the State of Michigan to receive the past 30 days proof of income from the date you signed your application. Example: If you worked 4 weeks prior to the date you signed the application, then we need four consecutive pay stubs in date order (if there were 5 weeks, we will have to receive 5 pay stubs). If you worked less than 4/5 weeks prior to signing your application, you must send in what pay stubs you have for work completed and a note with a statement explaining why you didn't work a full 30 days.
WHAT IF I AM SELF EMPLOYED?
We require you to send in a profit and loss statement showing your income and expenses for the past 30 days from the date you signed your application.
What services are covered?
»When a household's heat or electric service(s) at current residence are in past due status, in threat of shut off or are already shut off.
»Payment may be made for any qualified applicant on a prepayment account for natural gas (must be your heat source) or electric services when the balance remaining in the account does not exceed $100.
»Deposits, special trip charges, pilot relights, pressure checks, reconnect fees, and related charges such as storage tank (pig) installation, delivery or rental can be paid if they are necessary to prevent an emergency and are required by the energy provider.
What services are not covered?
»Unauthorized or illegal use of requested service provider.
»Regulated utility/energy provider late fees (click here for a list regulated and unregulated providers).
»Regulated utility/energy provider unregulated services such as appliance repair or appliance protection programs.
»Used for cooking purposes.
»emPower cannot authorize payment for service used in businesses or nonresidential buildings or facilities such as rental units, garages, stores, or nonresidential farm uses. When a bill represents combined residential and nonresidential or business usage, emPower can authorize payment for the residential use portion and the group applying for the energy services pays the nonresidential costs.
In the case of a client who works in their own home, if the bill is in the client's name and the service address is the same as the client's residence address, it is considered a residential bill and payment may be authorized. If the bill is in the name of the client's business, it is considered a commercial bill and payment cannot be authorized.
»Common meter/service situations. This occurs when one meter or heat/electric unit serves more than one residential unit or residence. If the energy provider can verify the group's actual usage and the provider will accept the household's portion and maintain services, payment may be made in full.
»Payments to residential landlords, residential management companies, billing service agencies, or collection agencies are not eligible to receive emergency service or MEAP funds, as they are not actual service providers.
»Payment shall not be issued for energy services when the usages is in violation of the federal law. Example: A client has requested assistance for an electric shut off which includes costs associated to manufacturing "medical" marijuana. The client is not eligible for MEAP since federal law, 21 U.S.C. 841(1) prohibits the manufacturing of marijuana.
»Air conditioning billing separate from residential electric service.
»Secondary household fuel types; payment will only be approved for the primary heating source. Example: If you heat with both wood and propane, you must choose what service you want assistance. Any future assistance will only be authorized for the primary heat source.
How long does it take to process my application?
It can take up to 10-business days to process a complete application.
If you return an application that is incomplete, you will receive a missing document letter through the mail. If you are sent a missing document letter and we don't receive the requested information in 8-business days, we will deny your application. If you still need assistance, you will need to reapply.
How will I know if TrueNorth received my application?
You can call 231-355-5880 to check the status of your application, or you can use our online query system by clicking here.
How will I know if I have been approved or denied for assistance?
Once TrueNorth has determined you are eligible for emPower heat and energy assistance, a Payment Processor will contact you first by phone and then a commitment letter will be mailed. If you are denied, we will mail you a letter.
I was denied for assistance, now what do I do?
If you received a denial letter and you feel the determination is incorrect, you can fill out the "Request for Review" included with your letter and send to TrueNorth emPower, PO Box 149, Fremont, MI 49412. Make sure to include any supporting documents.TrueNorth will attempt to resolve this issue, but if we cannot and have come to the same determination, it will be turned over to the State of Michigan for review. It can take up to 90 days to receive a determination from the State.
You can also contact 211 by dialing 2-1-1, 1-844-875-9211, or through their website www.mi211.org. They may be able to provide you with additional agencies that help within your county.
Can I apply for more than one heat and energy assist?
Yes, you are able to apply if you are past due or have a shut-off notice, have less than 25% in your fuel tank at time of delivery, and have less than 14 days of wood, wood pellets or coal. The request for assistance must be 30 days after the previous assist. Once you reach the $3,000 cap, you are unable to receive assistance from any MEAP funded agency.
Once you receive heat and energy assistance from any MEAP funded program, you must reapply with that program until you have reached their cap or until they are out of funding. If you have reached the $3,000 cap, you are unable to apply for heat and energy assistance with any MEAP funded program.
What do you need if I heat with propane or fuel oil?
We need you to provide your fuel supplier, contact info and account number on page 4 of the application, and make sure you do not have more than 25% of fuel in your tank at time of delivery. emPower can only provide up to 500 gallons maximum of fuel or propane. If you have a past-due balance with your provider, you can also apply for assistance, but we do need you to send in a copy of that bill. For just a fill, we do not need to receive a bill. emPower cannot authorize gas used for cooking purposes.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE 25% OR LESS IN MY FUEL OIL TANK?
Typical tanks are 44" when full. Below is a list of the inches that would indicate 25% or less in your tank:
»275 gallon tanks have a capacity of 27" deep when full, you would need to have 6 3/4" or less to be within 25% guideline.
»220/275 gallon tanks have a capacity of 44" deep when full, you would need to have 11" or less to be within 25% guideline.
»300 gallon tanks have a capacity of 38" deep, you need to have 9 1/2" or less to be within 25% guideline.
»530/560/1050 gallon tanks have a capacity of 48" deep, you need to have 12" or less to be within 25% guideline. Remember we can only authorize up to 500 gallons max.
»1000/1500 gallon tanks have a capacity of 64" deep, you need to have 16" or less to be within 25% guideline. Remember we can only authorize up to 500 gallons max.
The information above is only to be used as a guideline.