Households Can Still Apply for Funding to Help with Cost of Heating and Medically Necessary Cooling Bills through August 31
Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today announced that the application period has been extended for residents across the state to apply through August 31 for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded program assists low-income households with their heating and medically necessary cooling costs, and provides emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance. Program funding is administered through the DCA Division of Housing and Community Resources.
“We know there are residents in need of assistance with paying their heating and cooling bills and we want to make sure they are aware that we can help them with the LIHEAP program,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, DCA Commissioner. “We’ve once again extended the application deadline to help as many people as possible and encourage residents in need to apply.”
To be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, households must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent, and have a gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Persons who live in public housing and/or receive rental assistance are not eligible unless they are responsible for their own heating/cooling costs paid directly to the fuel supplier. The amount of the LIHEAP heating benefit is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and county of residence. The average LIHEAP benefit for a household this heating season is approximately $300.
Households that qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly food stamps – are automatically screened to determine eligibility for LIHEAP. SNAP applicants are encouraged to bring electric, gas, oil and other energy utility bills that could qualify them to receive LIHEAP assistance to help pay these costs. SNAP recipients who qualify for LIHEAP may be eligible for an increase in SNAP benefits.
The LIHEAP application also serves as an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF) Program, which is another source of financial assistance to help low-income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs. The USF program is state funded and administered by the DCA Division of Housing and Community Resources. LIHEAP-eligible households may also be eligible to receive USF assistance. To be eligible for USF, a household must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level and pay more than 3 percent of its annual income for electric or more than 3 percent of its annual income for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6 percent of its annual income on electricity to be eligible.
The chart below provides maximum monthly gross income eligibility levels for both LIHEAP and USF.
MAXIMUM MONTHLY GROSS INCOME ELIGIBILITY LEVELS
|Household Size||LIHEAP Program||USF Program|
|If more than 12, add:||$165 for each person||$610 for each person|
For more information on LIHEAP and USF, visit www.energyassistance.nj.gov or call 1-800-510-3102 (LIHEAP).
The mission of the Division of Housing and Community Resources is to strengthen and revitalize communities through the delivery of affordable housing, supportive services, and financial and technical assistance to local governments and community-based organizations.
For more information about DCA, visit http://www.nj.gov/dca/