Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 31, 2011

LIHEAP offers heating assistance

Those who qualify can schedule appointments to apply for assistance

Those who qualify to receive heating assistance through LIHEAP may apply on Tuesday.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households pay a portion of their winter heating bills, with eligibility based on gross income for the 30 days prior to the date of application.

Priority enrollment for seniors, people with disabilities and households with children younger than five years old began earlier this year.

The Crosswalk Community Action Agency will be administering LIHEAP for Jefferson, Franklin and Williamson counties, information states.

The agency had a “tremendous amount of households” that needed assistance this year, information states.

Those eligible to receive LIHEAP funding for winter heating bills are a single-person household with gross income of $1,361, a two-person household with a gross income of $1,839, a three-person household at $2,316, and a four-person household at $2,794.

The person who applies must be the customer of record at the utility company from which they purchase power. The first step to receive energy assistance is to visit the outreach site in the county and make an appointment so an application can be made at a later date.

Appointments will begin being distributed on Nov. 1 at a first-come, first-serve basis. If it is not possible to be at the outreach site on Nov. 1, there will still be appointments available. Those eligible can go to the location in their county from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. and receive an appointment.

Appointments are being scheduled for one to two months out, information states.

Any eligible household that is disconnected from its utility or that is at or below 25 percent on a delivered fuel and cannot get a delivery on its own may qualify for emergency reconnection assistance, information states.

Outreach locations are, in Jefferson County, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 333 Potomac Boulevard, Suite E., Mt. Vernon; in Franklin County, the Crosswalk Community Action Agency, east entrance, 410 West Main, West Frankfort; and in Williamson County, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 8195 Express Drive in Marion.

This year for the first time, some LIHEAP clients will have the option of choosing between the traditional direct vendor payment plan or the new percentage of income payment plan, information from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity states.

The PIPP plan is available to eligible LIHEAP clients who are customers of Ameren Illinois and several other businesses. Under the PIPP plan, the client will pay a percentage of their income, receive a monthly benefit toward their utility bill and receive a reduction in overdue payments for every on-time payment they make by the bill due date.

The traditional DVP plan is a one-time payment.

Those with questions may call the Crosswalk Community Action Agency’s main office at 937-3581 and ask to speak to someone in the LIHEAP Department.

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