Frequently Asked Questions

Have you ever had a question and didn’t know where to find the answer? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This section is a compilation of answers to the questions most commonly asked by our  customers, donors, and community members. Just start by following one of the links below.

Energy Assistance Questions

Food Support / SNAP Questions

Reverse Mortgage Questions

Energy Assistance Answers

What is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP)?
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) provides a financial aid grant to assist with heating costs to households who qualify, crisis intervention for threat of or no heat situations, Energy Related Repairs for home heating systems and referrals to weatherization and other human service providers. [ Top ]

What are the income guidelines?
Income guidelines can be viewed in the Energy Assistance Program page  of our website and they are available with the application. [ Top ]

What is the time period to apply for Energy Assistance?
Households can apply for Energy Assistance from 10/01/xx through 5/31/xx. [ Top ]

Do I need to apply every year? 
No, not every year, but every heating season. The heating season at this time is from 10/1/xx through 5/31/xx. [ Top ]

Do I need to be in an emergency situation to apply for Energy Assistance? 
Apply as soon as you can, your application will be processed in the first-in, first-out priority category. [ Top ]

How do I get an application? 
Applications English and Spanish versions for Energy Assistance are available on CAP-HC's Energy Assistance web page, or call 952-930-3541 for an application to be mailed to you. [ Top ]

Can my utility vendor shut me off? 
YES, unless you take steps under the Cold Weather Rule (CWR) to protect yourself. You must contact your utility company to apply for protection from having your heat shut off. This is true for all residential customers, including families with young children and senior citizens. [ Top ]

What is Cold Weather Rule (CWR)? 
The CWR regulates the conditions under which gas and electric utilities may disconnect residential service in the winter (from October 15 to April 15). The Rule requires that ratepayers who have difficulty paying heating bills contact their utility to work out a mutually acceptable payment plan to preserve service. The type of plan available depends on your household income level. [ Top ]

Is this a monthly grant? 
No, this is not a monthly grant. Upon your approval of the program the entire amount you are eligible for will be sent to your selected vendor(s) within four months. [ Top ]

Do you pay my entire bill? 
No, the Energy Assistance grant is not based upon the amount of your bill, the grant amount is determined from your consumption use, household size, and household income. [ Top ]

Should I continue to pay my bill? 
Yes, you should always continue to pay your bill on a monthly basis to avoid past due balances. Ask your vendor about the budget plan to make your payments affordable to your needs. [ Top ]

How long of a process is this? 
Processing your application can take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks, depending on the number of applications received in the office. Applications are processed in a first-in, first-out priority category. [ Top ]

What if I receive a disconnection notice? 
If you receive a disconnection notice please contact your vendor first to arrange a payment plan. If not able to agree on a payment plan, you must ask for an appeal form from your vendor.  If your appeal is denied, you can then call CAP-HC and notify of disconnection.  Disconnection date MUST be within the current billing cycle. [ Top ]

What if I am having problems with my furnace? 
If you are having furnace problems, you are a homeowner, and you have been approved for Energy Assistance, please contact our office first. If you have not been approved for Energy Assistance you will need to apply and be approved. [ Top ]

Food Support / SNAP Answers

How do I know if I qualify for the program? 
CAP-HC can help you determine if you are likely to qualify for the program. After you apply, Hennepin County decides if you may receive benefits. Visit the SNAP web page or call 952-697-1354 to determine eligibility. [ Top ]

How can I apply? 
Call CAP-HC at 952-697-1354. A Case Manager will help you fill out the application.  

[ Top ]

How much will I receive in benefits if I qualify? 
The amount you receive depends on your income, expenses and the number of people in your household. [ Top ]

Will I need to repay the money I receive from SNAP? 
No. SNAP is not a loan and does not need to be repaid. [ Top ]

If I receive support from Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), will I still get SNAP when MFIP ends? 
There is no time limit for SNAP. Once MFIP ends, you may still be eligible for SNAP benefits. [ Top ]

If I work, can I still receive SNAP? 
Yes. Having a job does not make you ineligible for the program. A CAP-HC Case Manager can help you decide if applying is right for you. [ Top ]

How often do I have to fill out the paperwork? 
If you have earned income, you must complete a Household Report Form and return it with proof of income (such as pay stubs) to the county office every six months.

If you do not have income from work (no earned income) you will only have to complete the paper work every 12 months.  [ Top ]

Do I have to be a United States citizen to get SNAP? 
No. You must be a U.S. Citizen OR have an acceptable immigration status. However, if only some people in your household have acceptable immigration status, you can apply just for them. [ Top ]

If I do not have acceptable immigration status, but my children were born in the United States, can they qualify? 
Yes. You can apply for the U.S. born Children, even if you do not have acceptable immigration status. [ Top ]

I am an immigrant and want to become a US citizen. Will receiving SNAP benefits prevent me from becoming a citizen? 
No. Participating in SNAP is not considered a public charge. [ Top ]

Reverse Mortgage Answers

How is a Reverse Mortgage different from a Home Equity Loan?

With a home equity loan you must make regular monthly payments to repay the loan. HUD reverse mortgages require no repayment until the home is sold or the last surviving borrower dies or permanently moves. [ Top ] 

Who is eligible for a HUD Reverse Mortgage?

All borrowers must be at least 62 years of age. You do not need good credit to qualify.     [ Top ]

What properties are eligible? 

Your home must be a single-family home, a condo, townhome, duplex, triplex or fourplex. You must either own your home, or have a mortgage balance that can be paid off with the reverse mortgage. [ Top ]

Does the lender get the house?

No, you keep the title to the property. You are still responsible for property taxes, insurance and repairs. [ Top ]

How much can I get?

Your age or your spouse's age (if they are younger), your home's equity, and the interest rate will determine how much you can receive. For a more expensive home, not all of the home's equity will be used to determine the maximum mortgage you can receive. [ Top ]

Can I still sell my home later on?

You may sell the home at any time. When you sell, the mortgage would be paid off and you would keep the remaining equity. [ Top ]

How can I withdraw my equity?

You have several choices and you are permitted to change plans any time over the life of the loan. You can:

  • Receive cash at closing.
  • Receive monthly cash advances until you sell or leave the home.
  • Receive monthly cash advances for a specified amount of time.
  • Establish a line of credit for withdrawing money as you need it.
  • Have a combination of a line of credit and monthly cash advances. 
Are there closing fees or charges?

Yes. The price of the closing fees depends on the value of the home. The charges may be financed and may include closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and lender servicing fees. [ Top ]

Are there restrictions on how I spend my equity?

No. A reverse mortgage can be used to meet a variety of needs including increasing your monthly income, paying property taxes, improving your home and other expenses. [ Top ]

Will this loan affect my retirement benefits?

No. There is no effect on Medicare, Social Security or pensions. [ Top ]

What if I'm currently receiving public benefits like Medical Assistance?

It is possible to use public assistance programs like Medical Assistance, food stamps or home health care and still obtain a reverse mortgage. [ Top ]

Why do I need to see a housing counselor before applying?

The State of Minnesota requires counseling by a HUD-approved housing counseling agency before you apply for any reverse mortgage. The counselor will explain the various reverse mortgage programs, help you evaluate your financial needs and provide information on other programs that may meet your needs. Family members are strongly encouraged to attend the counseling session. There is no cost or obligation for our services. [ Top ]

What is the first step?
Call Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County at 952-697-1302 to speak to reverse mortgage staff. [ Top ] 

Take Action and Donate

Changing Lives,
Improving Communities

Links of Interest