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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Home heating assistance available for low-income families; elderly, disabled to receive priority

  • Many Illinois residents suffer financially every year due to the high cost of heating a home throughout the cold winter months that are now quickly approaching. Fortunately, low-income households may be eligible to receive assistance with their energy expenses this winter, thanks to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Eco...
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  • Many Illinois residents suffer financially every year due to the high cost of heating a home throughout the cold winter months that are now quickly approaching. Fortunately, low-income households may be eligible to receive assistance with their energy expenses this winter, thanks to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Energy Assistance, which recently announced the application process for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program has begun.
    LIHEAP is a state and federally funded program that provides energy assistance to low-income families by paying heating bills on behalf of eligible households.
    Seniors and the disabled will receive priority and can begin applying for winter heating assistance right away. In order to receive priority enrollment, a household must include at least one person aged 60 years or older or at least one person who receives disability payments.
    Saline County residents who wish to apply for LIHEAP assistance should make an appointment with Wabash Area Development, Inc. Their office is located at 14 Veterans Drive in Harrisburg or they can be reached by telephone at (618) 252-2680. Eldorado residents, however, should make an appointment with the Gallatin County WADI office, located at 127 E. Logan Ave. in Shawneetown. Their office can be reached at (618) 269-3486.
    According to a DCEO release, LIHEAP applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies across the state. The agencies, like WADI, began accepting applications from the elderly and disabled Tuesday on a first-come, first-served basis. Households with children under the age of five may begin applying for LIHEAP assistance starting Oct. 1 and individuals who are not eligible for priority enrollment can apply beginning Nov. 1.
    In order to qualify for LIHEAP funds, the monthly income of a single-person household cannot exceed $1,396 and the monthly income of a two-person household cannot exceed $1,891. A family of three can earn up to $2,386 monthly and a family of four can earn up to $2,881 monthly and still be eligible for energy assistance, according to the release. Customers will continue to be served until funding for the program has been exhausted.
    However, other factors may affect a person's ability to receive energy assistance through the program, which is why it is important to call the local administering agency to make an appointment in order to begin the application process. For example, individuals who rent their house may be ineligible for assistance if utilities are included in their monthly rent payment. In addition, WADI staff at both locations will be able to assist those interested in applying for the program by letting them know what types of documentation will be required at the appointment.
    Most clients will need to bring the following:
    -Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day period prior to the application date.
    -A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days.
    Page 2 of 2 - -Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.
    -If any members of the household have received state or federal benefits like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, documentation showing those benefits must be proven.
    -Individuals who rent their home will require additional documentation and landlord contact information.
    For a complete listing of LIHEAP'S local administering agencies or for additional information about the program, visit the internet site LiheapIllinois.com.

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