Home Fuel Assistance: Apply Before May 1

MARCH 2006 - Last year, over 134,000 individuals received help with their home fuel bills through the state's LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), which is funded by the federal government. You must apply for help before this May 1.

To receive fuel assistance, your gross annual income (including pension and social security) cannot exceed $19,140. As you can see from the chart below, the amount of assistance increases as one's income falls below the $19,140 cap, from a minimum $525 on incomes over $16,748 to a maximum of $765 for those with an income below $9,570. Editor's Note: Not only are the current income thresholds higher over last year's levels, but the fuel assistance benefits are greater.

As long as their income is less than $25,660, couples can also get help. Again, those with the least income receive the most help according to the chart.

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

When phoning or visiting the website, you can also learn more on other programs being offered to assist persons with saving money on their heating bills.