George: Heating Assistance Program Opens Nov. 1
Former recipients may apply online early this year
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Clearfield County, has announced that the state Department of Public Welfare will begin accepting applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – starting Nov. 1.
“Each winter season, we hear the tragic stories of vulnerable citizens, some of whom are elderly or ill, who succumb to freezing temperatures, even in their own homes,” George said. “I want every person who struggles to heat his or her home to know that this assistance is available.”
George also noted that this year, the department will be accepting early applications. Individuals who obtained assistance last year may re-apply again this year ahead of the Nov. 1 program launch, and eligible individuals will receive a postcard informing them of this opportunity.
By way of the new postcard, clients will be provided with a pre-registration number giving them access to an online application that has already been filled out using last year’s data. Clients will simply have to make sure their online information is correct and update anything that may have changed.
LIHEAP, a federally funded program administered by the state, provides both cash and crisis grants to individuals meeting income eligibility requirements. This year, an individual making $16,755 or a family of four making $34,575 may receive assistance.
LIHEAP cash grants are sent directly to the recipients’ utilities to offset their bills. This year, the minimum cash benefit recipients may receive is $100.
Crisis grants are given to households in immediate danger of losing heat, due to an emergency or other circumstance. The money may be used to purchase additional fuel or repair broken heating equipment. The maximum crisis grant amount is $300.
Individuals may apply for a LIHEAP grant online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by downloading an application from the Department of Public Welfare website at www.dpw.state.pa.us. Completed applications may be returned to their county assistance office, and applications submitted online will automatically be forwarded to those offices. Residents can also apply in-person at county assistance offices.
Phone numbers, regular and toll free where available, for area county assistance offices are:
? Clearfield County, 765-0684 and (1) 800 862-8941
? Centre County, 861-1955 and (1) 800 355-6024
? Jefferson County, 938-1329 and (1) 800 242-8214
? Blair County, 946-7365 and (1) 866 812-3341
? Cambria County, 533-2253 and (1) 877 315-0389
? Elk County, 772-5215 or 776-1101 and (1) 800 847-0257
The statewide LIHEAP hotline is (1) 866 857-7095 or TDD for the hearing impaired (1) 800 451-5886.
Applicants may rent or own their homes, do not need to already be on public assistance, and do not have to be delinquent on energy bills to qualify. LIHEAP grants do not need to be paid back.
“Each year, the LIHEAP program serves nearly 400,000 Pennsylvania households,” George said. “I encourage anyone who may need assistance this winter to apply.”