Heating Assistance Available

MARCH 2005
- Application Deadline: April 30 - You have until April 30 to apply for help to pay your heating bills
during this winter. Funded through the federal government, the state's
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) has been providing
assistance to an average of 130,000 individuals and/or families for
more than 25 years.

To be eligible for
LIHEAP, your gross annual income (including pension and social
security) cannot exceed $18,620. As shown by the chart on the right,
the amount of assistance increases as one's income falls below the
$18,620 cap, from a minimum $359 on incomes over $16,293 to a maximum
of $527 for those with an income below $9,310.

For
a couple, their gross income cannot exceed $24,980. Again, the couple
with the least income receives the most help according to the same
schedule of benefits provided to individuals.

You
must apply to the local LIHEAP agency in your area. If they find that
you're eligible, it will make payments toward your heating bills to the
vendor itself (i.e., oil, propane, wood or coal dealer, or gas or
electric utility). Special provisions are made for renters whose heat
expenses are included in their rent, as well as those living in
subsidized housing.

To locate your
local LIHEAP agency, you can call either 617-573-1400 or 800-632-8175.
You can also obtain the information online at www.mass.gov/dhcd. When
you call these numbers or visit the website, you can also check on
other programs being offered to assist persons with saving money on
their heating bills.

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