Energy Assistance Heating Program to begin Nov. 1
Pace Community Action Agency, Inc. announced Nov. 1 will be the start date for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Lisa Ritterskamp, Energy Assistance Manager states, “LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which qualifying households receive a one-time benefit toward their home’s primary heat source.”
Pace serves individuals residing in Daviess, Greene, Knox and Sullivan Counties.
Individuals in Greene County must make an appointment by calling 812-882-7927, extension 2. A drop box is available at 11 NW 7th Street in Linton.
Many times, low income households have to choose between paying their utility bill or buying food for their family.
Dr. Bertha Proctor, Chief Executive Officer, states, “The Energy Assistance Program helps those that are most vulnerable in defraying the high cost of heating their homes in the cold winter months.”
To encourage customers to continue to pay their bills each month, eligible households can earn an additional $50 by having on time payments to both their heat and electric bill.
Households must be income-qualified for the program, with a combined gross income for the past
3-months meeting current Poverty Guidelines. Three months’ income limits are as follows:
• $5,933 for a household of one
• $7,759 for a household of two
• $9,584 for a household of three
• $11,410 for a household of four
• $13,235 for a household of five
• $15,061 for a household of six
• $15,403 for a household of seven
• $15,893 for a household of eight
• $17,513 for a household of nine
Those interested in applying for the program must complete the application process, which includes submitting the following documentation at the time of application:
• Completed application listing all members residing in the home including social security cards for all members
• Photo ID for the individual signing the application
• Program guidelines state the past 3-months’ gross income must be submitted for each adult in the household. Those receiving social security can submit a bank statement if direct deposited, a current year award letter, or printout from the Social Security office. Employed adults for any portion of the past 3 months must submit their most recent paystub showing their year to date gross wages. Any unemployed adult must complete a Work One Wage History Release and Zero Income Affidavit.
• Complete copy of current electric and heating bills
Walk-in appointments cannot be accommodated. Households that are in a disconnect status, or whose utility has already been shut off are required to be seen by a specialist to determine eligibility. Additional costs may be required to either connect service or prevent disconnect of services. Those individuals should contact the Vincennes office to schedule an appointment at one of our 3 locations. Those not in a disconnect status can either download an application from the agency website at www.pacecaa.org or contact their local office to have an application mailed to them.
Ritterskamp states, “Changes in guidelines made for this program year should allow more households to qualify and more assistance to be provided. Those changes include an increase in the poverty guideline income limit, a benefit increase for bulk fuel households, and removal of the stipulation that required a Utility Affidavit to be completed for those whose utility bill was not in their name. Again this year, regulations allow households with utilities included in their monthly rent to apply for assistance.”
The amount of assistance a household receives is based on a points system, not by the amount of their utility bill. Points are received based on the amount of household income, type of home, at-risk category and heat source.
“New this year, households with bulk fuel will receive more points,” Ritterskamp said.
Energy Education sessions will also be provided to clients applying for the program.
Ritterskamp states, “As part of the Energy Assistance Program, we also offer an education component in order to provide our clients with practices to use in their home to decrease their energy usage and lower their energy bills.”
During the 2017-2018 Energy Assistance Program, 3,207 households were served, with just over $1,867,213 in benefits being applied to the utility accounts of qualifying households. Energy Education counseling was also provided to 1,904 individuals.
Information on the Energy Assistance Program and other programs offered by Pace Community Action Agency can be obtained by contacting the local office located at the address below during normal business hours.