Home energy assistance funding is available for low income households
As temperatures drop around the region, Southwestern Pennsylvania’s natural gas companies are reminding customers in need to take advantage of available Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding.
Funds are depleted as the winter heating season progresses and customers are reminded to apply as soon as possible. The “Partners for Warmth” — comprised of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Peoples, and Peoples TWP — have promoted LIHEAP in southwestern Pennsylvania for over 20 years in order to help low-income customers pay winter heating bills.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that provides a one-time cash grant applied directly to a customer’s home heating bill. In addition, the crisis program provides grants to prevent a shut off or address a heating emergency such as a furnace failure. This winter’s program started November 4, 2013, and the region’s natural gas companies encourage customers who have not already applied to apply online, through their natural gas utility, through a social service agency, or at their county assistance office.
So far during the 2013-2014 winter heating season, it is estimated that more than 252,000 Pennsylvania households have applied for cash grant assistance and more than 22,000 households have applied for Crisis grants.
Although LIHEAP is administered through Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare, it is not a public assistance program. Eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP change, and customers who may not have been eligible in the past are encouraged to reapply.
For the 2013-2014 winter heating season, the income eligibility limit is 150 percent of federal poverty income guidelines. This means, for example, that a family of four with an annual income that does not exceed $35,325 is eligible. The minimum grant for the heating season is $100. LIHEAP closes April 4, or earlier if funds run out.
Customers are encouraged to apply online through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Access to Social Service website (COMPASS) at http://www.compass.state.pa.us, through the Partners for Warmth at http://www.PartnersforWarmth.org, or by calling 1-866-827-1281.
To apply for LIHEAP, a utility customer must provide the following information: Names of all people in the household; Birth dates for all people in the household; Social Security numbers for all members of the household; Proof of income for all members of the household; and, A copy of a recent heating bill.
For additional details about LIHEAP and other assistance programs, customers can contact their natural gas company by calling one of the following numbers:
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, 1-800-272-2714; Peoples Natural Gas, 1-800-400-9276; Peoples, Equitable Division, 1-800-644-8090; Peoples TWP, 1-800-222-5101.