As Temperatures Drop, Utility Assistance Needs Rise - Funds Still Available To Aid Low Income HouseholdsMonday, November 27, 2006 | 12:00 am
NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Department of Human Services is working with 19 community service agencies across the state to help those less fortunate get through the cold winter months. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a utility assistance program for eligible individuals and families, who must sign up with their local agency for assistance. Priority is given to individuals with disabilities, the elderly and low income families with children under 6-years old.
“As we enter the holiday season, we are reminded that many in our communities are not always able to meet their basic needs,” said DHS Commissioner Gina Lodge. “LIHEAP is there to help those eligible citizens who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Although the program used to be thought of as an emergency aid program or a summer or winter assistance program, with sign-up times limited to a few times a year, this is not the case. Citizens can and should go to their local agencies any time during the year to sign up. Assistance will be provided as long as the funds are available.”
Currently, all 19 community service agencies have funding left in their budgets to assist eligible families and individuals.
Services. Eligibility for LIHEAP benefits is based on established federal poverty guidelines, and documentation of household income is required. Tennesseans whose household income does not exceed 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines (that’s $25,000/year for a family of four) are potentially eligible for the program. The assistance does not go directly to the client. Instead, it is made in the form of a payment to the utility company or home energy provider. If eligible, the client could receive up to two payments a year.
More than 60,000 Tennessee families are assisted each year through the LIHEAP program.
For a list of local LIHEAP agencies where applications for utility assistance can be made, please click on the following link:
For more information about the Department of Human Services and its programs, please click on the following link: http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv