heating oil stock photo

A worker hooks up a hose to make a heating oil home delivery.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu this week announced that a program to assist Granite State families with their heating bills has opened two weeks early.

The New Hampshire Fuel Assistance Program (FAP) is starting earlier than its typical Dec. 1 date, due in part to the release of about $25 million in federal funding from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for fiscal 2020.

“With winter fast approaching, it's critically important for Granite Staters in need of fuel assistance to apply for these important benefits," Sununu said in a news release. "No child, family or senior citizen should be without the fuel they need to stay warm this winter."

FAP is organized to provide assistance to those with an annual household income at or below 60 percent of the state median income – the most allowed under federal law – which this year amounts to a maximum $65,732 annual income for a family of four. Based on the amount of the federal grant, the average FAP benefit for a family of four this winter will be roughly $899.

"The Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) is proud to administer such an important program for the citizens of New Hampshire," Jared Chicoine, the OSI Director, said in the news release. "We look forward to providing this crucial benefit over the home heating season. I would encourage anyone who may need fuel assistance to contact their community action agency or OSI for more information.”

The OSI oversees the FAP initiative in collaboration with the state’s five Community Action Agencies. More information on New Hampshire’s Fuel and Weatherization Assistance Programs, along with information on how to apply, can be found on the Office of Strategic Initiatives website.

FAP benefits are supplemental and unlikely to cover heating costs for the entire winter. A scarcity of fuel is not required to qualify; applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, well in advance of running low on fuel.