The Times West Virginian

January 8, 2014

Help available to help handle high utility bills

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — With temperatures reaching into the negatives this week and more winter still to come, heating bills can climb higher than in other months.

For low-income residents in West Virginia, there is help for handling those high utility bills.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) will be accepting applications for its Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) from Jan. 21 through Jan. 31. The LIEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households  with their heating costs.

Karen Bowling, cabinet secretary of the DHHR, said the winter months are when the help is needed most.

“Many West Virginia families struggle with high utility bills during the winter months,” she said. “This is a great way to help them cover those costs.”

Last year the LIEAP served 91,119 people with help on the heating bills. The program can serve as many residents as funds allow with up to $500.

The requirement for the LIEAP depend on the monthly household income and number of residents. Residents must also be paying for their own heating bills.

Household income must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

For a one-person household, the monthly income must be $1,245 or below. For each additional person in the household, $436 is added to the requirement. For example, a two-person household’s monthly income must be $1,681 or below, three person, $2,117.

To pick an application for the LIEAP, visit a local DHHR including the Marion County location at 9083 Middletown Mall, Fairmont, WV 26554. Applications can also be obtained at DHHR community action agencies or senior centers operated by any Area Agency on Aging.

Applications as also available at www.wvinroads.org. Mailed applications should be mailed or delivered to the DHHR office in the applicants county of residence.

For more about the LIEAP, call 304-356-4619.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on‚ÄąTwitter @EGallagherTWV.