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(1) Emergency assistance under the Low Income Energy Assistance Program may be provided to an eligible household in the following circumstances only when such circumstances present a serious, immediate threat to the health and safety of the household:

(a) the household's primary supply of energy is interrupted because of weather conditions and another supply or a different type of energy is necessary;

(b) weather or other forces outside the control of the household damages the household's dwelling and causes the dwelling to suffer a severe loss of heat;

(c) hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions exist in the household's primary home water heating and/or space heating systems and safety modifications to the system are required; or

(d) any other home energy-related conditions caused by severe weather conditions, fuel shortages, and/or acts of God.

(2) Eligibility requirements:

(a) A household eligible for the low income energy assistance program which has an emergency as defined above is eligible for emergency assistance.

(b) A household which would be eligible for the low income energy assistance program had the household applied and which has an emergency as defined above is also eligible for emergency assistance.

(3) The household is responsible, at its own expense, for documenting that circumstances exist which present a serious, immediate threat to the household as defined in (1)(a) through (d). The local contractor may, however, in its discretion and subject to the priorities and restrictions specified in its contract with the department, assist the household in identifying and documenting such circumstances, if the local contractor has the expertise and resources to do so.

(4) Emergency assistance payments may be made on behalf of the eligible household for actual costs necessary to alleviate the emergency. However, no emergency assistance payments will be made for costs which are the liability of a third party, unless the household assigns to the department in writing its rights to such third party payments. Emergency assistance payments are limited to a total of $250 per household in a 12-month period commencing on the first of October immediately preceding the date of the request for emergency assistance, except as follows:

(a) An eligible household may receive emergency assistance payments which total more than $250 in a 12-month period if the local contractor determines services are necessary to alleviate an emergency.

(5) Subject to the provisions of (6), after a household has requested emergency assistance and provided proof that it is financially and otherwise eligible for such assistance, the contractor shall provide some form of assistance to resolve the emergency:

(a) within 48 hours after the request is made in all cases; and

(b) within 18 hours after the request is made, if the emergency is a life-threatening situation.

(6) The time limits contained in (5)(a) and (b) for provision of emergency assistance do not apply in a geographical area affected by a disaster or emergency as designated in (6)(a) and (b), as long as the designation is in effect, if the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determines that the disaster or emergency makes compliance with the time limits impracticable. This exception to the time limit applies when:

(a) a natural disaster has been designated by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; or

(b) a major disaster or emergency has been designated by the president under the Disaster Relief Act of 1974.

(7) The identification, removal, and/or abatement of asbestos is not an allowable use of emergency assistance funds.

(8) Emergency assistance funds may be used to replace a non-environmental protection agency (EPA)-approved wood stove, if the non-EPA-approved wood stove is the eligible household's primary source of heat and the household is eligible to receive a benefit award for wood during the heating season.

History: 53-2-201, MCA; IMP, 53-2-201, MCA; NEW, 1982 MAR p. 732, Eff. 4/16/82; AMD, 1997 MAR p. 2296, Eff. 12/16/97; TRANS, from SRS, 1998 MAR p. 2059; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 414, Eff. 3/12/99; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 2575, Eff. 11/5/99; AMD, 2000 MAR p. 2707, Eff. 10/6/00; AMD, 2004 MAR p. 2818, Eff. 11/19/04; AMD, 2011 MAR p. 108, Eff. 1/28/11; AMD, 2011 MAR p. 2419, Eff. 11/11/11.

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