The last couple of days have been bitterly cold in the Saucon Valley, and many heating systems are operating at their maximum capacity, which will ultimately mean higher heating bills. Are you worried about that because you’re already struggling to pay your home heating bills this winter? Do you know someone who is? If so, financial assistance may be available.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) announced in January that it is accepting applications for this season’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The LIHEAP program helps low income families pay their heating bills.
Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal government and eligibility is based on the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
The income limits for this 2019 winter season are as follows:
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You do not have to be on public assistance or have an unpaid heating bill in order to qualify for LIHEAP assistance, nor do you have to be a renter.
State residents can apply for LIHEAP and check the status of their application on the state’s COMPASS website: www.compass.state.pa.us.
They can also pick up an application at one of the district offices of State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18)–who shared information about LIHEAP in her newsletter this week–or download the application from the LIHEAP website. Completed paper applications should be returned to the Allegheny County Assistance Office, 5947 Penn Ave., 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
After an application is received, the applicant will receive a written notice explaining their eligibility and the amount of assistance they will receive.
Payments are generally sent directly to a utility company or fuel provider and will be credited by LIHEAP to the customer’s heating account.
Crisis grants may also be available for families or individuals who are in imminent danger of losing their heat because of an emergency situation.
Examples of emergency situations that may qualify someone for a crisis grant include:
- Broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced.
- Lack of fuel.
- A main heating source or secondary heating source (a source used to operate the main heating source or used if the main heating source is not working) that has been completely shut off.
- Danger of being without fuel (less than a 15-day supply).
- Danger of having utility service terminated (e.g. a notice that service will be shut off within the next 60 days has been received).
With crisis grants, a one-time payment is sent directly to the utility company or fuel provider and will be credited on the monthly bill.
Grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income and fuel type, and do not have to be repaid.
For more information about the program and eligibility, call the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.