ATLANTA—Georgia’s energy assistance program, administered by the Division of Family and Children Services, will open Dec. 1 this year, Director Bobby Cagle announced Tuesday.
The federally-funded program assists low-income, elderly and disabled Georgians with heating bills through direct payments to home energy suppliers.
After Dec. 1, residents aged 65 and older or who are homebound can apply for assistance through the Department’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). All other eligible families may apply for assistance after Jan. 1, 2016. Funds are administered through local Community Action Agencies on a first-come, first-served basis or until all funds are exhausted.
The program has traditionally opened to seniors in November and to the general public in December, ahead of the release of federal funds for the program. Due to an increased need for heating assistance in 2014, however, the Division has delayed opening the 2015 program until federal funds for the current year are made available to the state.
Last year, the LIHEAP program provided more than $55 million to approximately 163,000 Georgians who needed assistance with their heating bills. Depending on income and household size, those who qualified for the program received between $310 and $350 toward their home heating bills.
To qualify, a family’s annual income must be less than or equal to 60 percent of the median income for a Georgia family. For a household of one, the income threshold is $21,029; the income threshold for a household of five is $46,912.
Those seeking assistance must contact their local Community Action Agencies. All applicants will be asked to provide their most recent heating bill or statement of service from their heating providers, as well as the following information on every member of their household: social security numbers, proof of citizenship and proof of income for the last 30 days. Proof of income can include, but is not limited to, a paycheck stub, a letter granting public assistance, Social Security or unemployment benefits. All applicants will be required to sign a consent to release information form allowing the state to retrieve energy usage data from their energy provider and to provide proof of bill payment.
For more information on the program, contact the Community Action Agency responsible for administering the program locally. For more information on Community Action Agencies, visit http://www.georgiacaa.org.