Half of American households earn less than $59,039 a year. And, as the weather turns colder, many families are stretching those limited dollars to heat their homes, buy medicine and put food on the table.
Enter the Energy Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
For more than 40 years, WAP has helped low-income families, people with disabilities and senior citizens like Miss Jones save money on their energy bills and much more.
Did you know that more than 40 million U.S. families may be eligible for weatherization services?
Each state has slightly different eligibility requirements, but if you receive Supplemental Security Income or help to pay utility bills from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, you are automatically eligible.
In other cases, states give preference to:
- People over 60 years of age
- Families with one or more members with a disability
- Families with children (in most states)
- Households with high energy burdens
- Homes with high energy use.
How do you determine your eligibility and sign up for weatherization assistance in your area?
It’s a simple 3 step process.
1. Find Your Local Weatherization Agency
Finding a weatherization agency is easier than you think. It’s important to note that all weatherization services are provided by states and local agencies, including the application process.
WAP provides funding to states, U.S. overseas territories, and Indian tribal governments, which manage the administration of the program. These governments, in turn, fund a network of local community action agencies, nonprofit organizations, and local governments.
You can use this interactive map to contact your local weatherization agency today. It has up-to-date lists for each state energy office as they guide you through the process.
You have to fill out an application form to apply for weatherization. The form takes about 20 minutes to complete and typically asks for the following information:
- A copy of your most recent energy bills
- A list of all household members (including birth dates and Social Security numbers) and proof of income for the last 90 days for each member or 12 months
- Proof of citizenship or legal residency.
This is a sample application from Ohio.
3. Wait For Your Eligibility To Be Determined.
After receiving your application, the weatherization agency will determine if you are eligible to receive the services. If approved, your agency will most likely put you on a waiting list.
Please remember that people who are most in need are often moved to the top of this list.
If you rent, you must get permission from your landlord before workers begin working on the house.
What Happens After I Am Approved For Weatherization Services?
The first step in the process is for your local weatherization agency to carry out an energy audit.
The audit is a computerized assessment of your home's energy use carried out by professional energy auditors. It includes an analysis of your energy bills, a blower-door (pressurized) test of the infiltration of outside air into your house, and an inspection of all energy equipment for health and safety.
Finally, the auditor will provide you with a recommended list of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures for your home.
Once the audit is complete, the auditor or inspector from the local weatherization agency will meet with you and your family to explain how the crews will conduct the work.
All of the work is energy-related, and does not include new roofing, siding, or similar structural improvements.
The average expenditure is $6,500 per home and the upgrades are typically completed in a day or two before signing off on final inspection.