Jefferson City, MO – As autumn leaves and temperatures drop around Missouri, the Missouri Department of Social Services is reminding Missourians in-need that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help them with their heating bills this fall and winter.
“Cold winters can be especially difficult for Missourians who struggle to afford their basic heating bills,” said Brian Kinkade, Missouri Department of Social Services Director. “LIHEAP lessens the impact of higher energy bills for low-income Missourians so that they can stay healthy and safe during the cold winter months.”
LIHEAP offers help paying heating bills through March. Payment amounts can range from $45 to $450, and are based on the household size, income, and type of fuel used for home heating. Payments are generally made directly to the utility company.
In fiscal year 2014, more than 146,000 Missouri households received LIHEAP assistance.
An individual may be eligible for the program if they are a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence, responsible for paying home heating costs, have an income at or below 135 percent of the poverty level ($26,716 annually for a family of three), and have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments.
Applications are now being accepted. Individuals interested in the program can apply through their local LIHEAP contract agency.
If an individual qualifies for Energy Assistance, they may also qualify for additional help through the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). The Energy Crisis Intervention Programare payments to energy providers for households who have their energy service terminated or received a threat of disconnection, or who are running short of purchased fuel (propane). The amount is based on the amount to restore or continue services which may be up to $800 for the winter program. Eligible households facing a cooling crisis during summer months may be eligible for up to $300.
Missourians interested in applying for LIHEAP can download the LIHEAP application with instructions and information on their nearest agency location http://www.dss.mo.gov/fsd/eassist/pdf/hcapp.pdf or visit www.DSS.mo.gov for more information.