(1) Except as provided in (4), a new application for LIEAP benefits must be made for each new heating season and when a household moves to a different residence during the heating season. Any adult member of the household may file a signed written application on the form prescribed by the department at the office of the local contractor in the area where the household resides. If necessary, the local contractor will provide assistance in completing the application form.
(2) The application form may be submitted by mail or by other means to the local contractor's office. The department or its local contractor may accept applications at locations other than the local contractor's office as designated by the department or its local contractor.
(3) An application for LIEAP benefits must be filed during the heating season for which assistance is being sought, that is, between October 1 and April 30, except as provided in (4). If April 30 falls on a weekend or holiday observed by Montana state government, the local contractor must accept applications on the next business day after the weekend or Montana state government observed holiday. However, at the option of the department, a household's application for certain types of deliverable heating fuel which are sold at lower prices during the summer months or for emergency services may be filed prior to October 1 of the heating season for which a household is seeking assistance. In the case of households who use other types of fuel and who are not seeking emergency services, the department may in its discretion accept applications prior to October 1.
(4) Publicly subsidized housing households whose energy costs are included as a fixed portion of their rent or households who reside in publicly subsidized housing and have an obligation to pay a base-load electric bill are not eligible for a regular LIEAP benefit computed using the benefit matrices and multipliers in the LIEAP Benefit Award Matrix and Table of Multipliers for the 2021-2022 heating season. However, these households are eligible for weatherization assistance as provided in ARM Title 37, chapter 71 and a modified LIEAP benefit. The modified LIEAP benefit is equal to five percent of the amount of a regular LIEAP benefit computed using the benefit matrices and multipliers in ARM 37.70.601 or a minimum payment of $25, whichever is greater, paid to the household annually. Households determined eligible for the modified LIEAP benefit whose economic and housing situation does not change are eligible for a period of five years.
(5) Publicly subsidized housing households who move into nonsubsidized housing during the five-year eligibility period may reapply for a prorated benefit for the current heating season based on the household's new circumstances as provided in ARM 37.70.602. The household may file a new application for each subsequent heating season as long as the household lives in nonsubsidized housing, as provided in (1).
(6) Publicly subsidized housing households who move to another publicly subsidized housing unit during the five-year eligibility period may file a new application for a modified LIEAP benefit for another five-year period, which will run from the date of the new application, if the household's energy costs are included as a portion of its rent or if it has an obligation to pay a base-load electric bill.
(7) No household or any of its members will be excluded from participation in LIEAP or be discriminated against in regard to the amount of benefits or in any other regard on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, culture, age, creed, marital status, physical or mental disability, political beliefs, or national origin.