To be eligible for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), households must be within 60% of the state median income. Benefits depend on household size, income, utility cost, and fuel type.
REAL Services, Inc. administers the Energy Assistance Program in Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties.
Programs and Services
2022-2023 Energy Assistance Program has ended for this cycle, and we are unable to provide assistance at this time. For assistance, please contact your Township Trustee or call 211 for additional resources in your community
- Don’t go in and out of doors needlessly. Frequent opening and closing of doors wastes heat and money.
- Caulk, seal or weather-strip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside. You can save 10% or more on your energy bill by reducing air leaks in your home.
- You can use heavy-duty clear plastic sheets that are taped tightly to the inside of your windows to reduce heat escape through windows.
- During the heating season keep draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce chill you may feel from the windows. During the cooling season keep window coverings closed during the day to prevent heat from the sun.
- Do not block off registers or radiators with draperies or curtains, furniture or other obstructions.
- If registers are adjustable, direct warm airflow across the floor. Air deflectors may also be used for this purpose. Remember that warm air rises; cool air falls.
- If possible, purchase and install a programmable thermostat. You can save as much as 10% per year on your utility bill simply by turning your thermostat back 10 – 15% for 8 hours. The programmable thermostat allows you to automatically turn down the temperature while you are gone or asleep and will bring the temperature back to a comfortable level by the time you return or get up.
- Make sure filters in the furnace are clean and changed regularly; dirty filters block the flow of air.
- Check heating distribution ducts for cracks, holes or separations at joints and repair them inexpensively with ductwork tape.
- Set the thermostat on your water-heater no higher than necessary for household uses (120 – 140 F). If the hot water is hotter than that you will have to add cold water for use, this means your water-heater works 23 hours to keep water at an unnecessarily high temperature so it can be cooled down for the hour or so it is being used.
- Take showers instead of baths, a 5-minute shower uses less than 10 gallons of water, a bath takes anywhere from 15 – 25 gallons.
- Leaky faucets waste a tremendous amount of water. A small leak that fills a coffee cup in 10 minutes wastes 3,280 GALLONS of water a year . . . if it is hot water, you are wasting fuel as well.
- Don’t waste water. If it is hot water, you are also wasting the energy it takes to heat it.
- Periodic thorough cleaning assures more economical and efficient use of your range.
- Adjust flame so it fits the pan you are using. Never allow the flame to lap around sides of the pan.
- Defrost foods before cooking and cover pans when practical to hold in heat.
- Preheat oven only when necessary, and avoid opening the oven door when food is cooking. Peeping causes heat loss.
- Periodically check freezer and fridge doors and make sure they seal tightly. Also make sure they are clean, dirty seals prevent the door from shutting tightly.
- Do not use the oven for heating the kitchen on a chilly day.
- Adjust refrigerator and freezer controls to avoid unnecessary colder settings that waste energy (37- 40 F for the refrigerator, 0 – 5 F for the freezer).
- Decide what you need out of the fridge before you open the door; an open fridge door waste energy two ways: the refrigerator motor has to work harder to cool the fridge and the furnace has to work harder to reheat the air.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the fridge, uncovered they will release moisture, which makes the compressor work harder.
- Always wash full loads of laundry but do not overload the washers as this can cut down on efficiency. For smaller laundry loads use the water level control for smaller loads. Hot water is not always necessary to wash laundry.
- Clean the lint filter on the dryer after each load to help keep the machine running efficiently.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. Turn off lights or other appliances in any room you’re not using.
- Do not overload electrical circuits. Overloading results in reduced energy efficiency and is also a safety hazard.
- Change the bag in the vacuum cleaner frequently to make sure it works more efficiently.
- If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. (Keeping the damper open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter.)
Households with fixed income may recertify for EAP without providing documentation that is usually necessary for the application. To qualify for recertification, you must be able to answer yes to all three of these questions:
- Did you send in a full EAP application (all documents) and receive an EAP benefit within the past two years?
For example, you would be eligible for recertification for the 2019-2020 program year if you sent in a full application and received a benefit for the 2017-2018 program year or 2018-2019 program year.
- Are the members in your household the same?
You would be eligible for recertification if the members of your household are the same as the last time you sent in an application and were approved for EAP.
- Is your only source of income Social Security, Veteran’s Benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Retirement Pension/Annuity?
If you are on a fixed income and have only Social Security, Veterans Benefits, SSI or retirement income, and you have had only small or cost-of-living changes in your income since the last time you sent in an application and were approved for EAP, then you will qualify for recertification. No one in your household may be working. If there is a household member who has income from a job, self-employment, some other income source, or zero income, you will need to send in a complete application with all supporting documents.
If you can answer yes to all three (3) questions, you qualify for recertification for up to two (2) years. You must resubmit all your documents every third year. To recertify:
- Complete the EAP application, sign the application and return it to us. Be sure the application is signed and dated.
- Include current utility bills. This is to ensure that your benefit will be applied to the correct account.
As usual, you will receive confirmation of your approval or denial through the mail for this process.
Your Appeal Rights and Right to Timely Processing of Your Energy Assistance Program Application
You have the right to request an appeal if your Energy Assistance Program (EAP) application is not acted upon in a timely manner once it has been received by the Local Service Provider (LSP) administering EAP in your area. In order to request an appeal for an EAP application not acted upon in a timely manner, please submit a written request for a review of your case along with all relevant facts to:
Energy Assistance Program Director
REAL Services, Inc.
P. O. Box 1835
South Bend, IN 46634-1835
You will receive an official written response to your appeal within 10 business days of receipt. The written response will include instructions for a second appeal if you are not satisfied with the response. Please note that an LSP has 10 days to determine eligibility of an EAP application when an in-person appointment takes place, and 55 days to determine eligibility of an EAP application when the application is delivered by other means, including but not limited to drop-off, mail, fax, e-mail, an electronic portal, or by proxy. When a heating crisis situation exists (defined as when a utility disconnection notice has been received, utility has already been disconnected, propane or fuel oil at or below 25% of a tank, or within 10 days of running out of other bulk deliverable fuel), LSPs must provide a mitigating action within 48 hours. In cases where a life-threatening crisis situation exists (defined as when a utility is already disconnected or bulk fuel heating source is already disconnected and there is a documented medical need in the household with an extreme safety concern), LSPs must provide a mitigating action within 18 hours. A mitigating action may or may not necessarily include determining eligibility of an EAP application within this time frame.
Please also note that the program officially opens, and the timeline for application approval begins, on November 1. Therefore, even if you submitted your application early, an LSP has until 55 days from November 1 to determine eligibility on an application if there is no crisis situation present. All other processing timelines will begin no earlier than November 1.
If an EAP application is denied for any reason, you have a right to submit another application, with updated supporting documentation, 55 days after your previous application submission.