South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

LIHEAP opens to help with heating bills of low income

 


The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) opened on November 1 and provides help with winter heating bills to low-income customers.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services that helps income-eligible families pay winter heating costs. The program provides grants to assist with paying home heating bills in addition to grants to assist in emergency heating situations. LIHEAP Cash grants range from $200 (double the previous amount of $100) up to $1,000 and assist in paying winter heating bills. Crisis grants range from $25 to $500 and are used to assist households without heat or in danger of being without heat.

LIHEAP funds are limited. Columbia Gas and Peoples urge eligible homeowners and renters to apply as soon as possible. Eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP change, and customers who may not have been eligible in the past are encouraged to reapply.

The income eligibility limit for the 2016-2017 program is 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. This means individuals with an annual income of up to $17,820 are eligible to apply. A family of four can earn an annual income of up to $36,450. LIHEAP closes on March 31, 2017 or earlier if funds run out.

Natural gas customers in western Pennsylvania can call 1-866-827-1281 to learn more about LIHEAP by talking with their natural gas utility – Columbia Gas or Peoples. Customers are encouraged to apply online through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Service website (COMPASS) at http://www.compass.state.pa.us.

To apply, the 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.

In addition to LIHEAP, the natural gas utilities offer a number of assistance programs to help customers struggling with household budgets. Customers can contact Columbia Gas at 1-800-537-7431 or Peoples at 1-800-400-WARM (9276) to learn more.

 

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