Saturday, November 14, 2009

DHS energy assistance program helps Georgians with their home heating bills

As the colder winter months approach, the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) will once again help Georgians struggling to keep up with the cost of heating their homes.

The agency’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will receive approximately $65.4 million dollars in federal funds, under the continuing resolution limitation, to assist low-income, elderly and disabled Georgians with their heating bills.

On November 2, 2009, local community action agencies began administering all available funds under state contracts, and homebound and elderly (aged 65 and older) households were able to begin applying for help.

All other eligible families may apply starting December 1, 2009. In most cases, payments will be made directly to the home energy supplier for gas, electricity, propane gas, wood, coal or kerosene. Qualifying applicants will receive payments of either $310 or $350.

To participate in the program, the family must meet a yearly income equal to or less than 60 percent of the state median income. For a one-person household, that would be $21,458; for two people, $28,061; for three people, $34,663; for four people, $41,266; for five people, $47,868; for six people, $54,471, for seven people, $55,709; for eight people, $56,947 (for each additional person, add $1,238 to annual income).

To qualify, applicants must bring their most recent fuel bill or statement of service from their heating provider. They also must have proof of income for all household members for the last 30 days. This may be paycheck stubs, a letter granting public assistance, Social Security or unemployment benefits. Applicants must also have social security numbers for all household members. Verification of age will be required for all elderly households.

Assistance will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program will close April 30, 2010, or when funds are exhausted.

For more information, contact the Division of Family and Children Services, Community Based Programs in metro Atlanta, by calling 404-656-2323 or toll free at 1-800-869-1150.

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