12/12/12 — Energy assistance applications now being taken by county

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Energy assistance applications now being taken by county

By From staff reports
Published in News on December 12, 2012 1:46 PM

As of Tuesday morning, 184 Wayne County households had applied for a total of $39,400 in assistance through the state's Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

The county has received $215,996 to distribute to help people with their heating bills. Last year, the county distributed $248,572 to 958 households.

Only households with an elderly person, 60 and older, or a disabled person receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services, are eligible to possibly receive benefits. Those applications are being accepted through Jan. 31 or until the funds are exhausted.

All other households may apply beginning Feb. 1 through March 29 or until funds are exhausted.

Applications are being taken at the Wayne County Department of Social Services, 301 N. Herman St., Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They also are being taken through Dec. 21 at Services on Aging, 2001 E. Ash St., Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Changes to how the program operates were implemented last year. Prior to 2011, households participating in the Food and Nutrition Services Program (formerly called Food Stamps) were automatically approved for the program.

Under the revised rules, all households must meet income and resource eligibility requirements and must apply for the funds. There are no longer any automatic approvals.

Everyone who lives at the same residence must be included on the application unless it is a boarding house or contains separate apartments. There must be a written or lease agreement if it is a boarding house or has a separate apartment with a separate heat source.

A valid Social Security number is required for each household member.

Also, prior to 2011, applications were taken in November and payments sent directly to recipients in February. The state now requires the payments be made directly to the heating provider.

The company must have a vendor agreement with the Department of Social Services in order for the agency to issue payment to the company.

Currently there are vendor agreements with the following companies: AmeriGas, Browns Service Center, Cherry Energy, Chester Hawke (wood), Deans Oil, Delmus Hardware, Eastern Carolina Propane, Etheridge Oil Co., Jenkins Gas (Princeton), Jenkins Gas (Mount Olive), McCracken Propane, Mt. Olive Gas Co. (Mount Olive), New Hope Gas Co., Ormonds Oil & Gas, Parker Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas, Progress Energy, R&H Oil Co., Sandhill Gas, Tidewater Energy (Goldsboro and Seven Springs), town of Fremont, town of Pikeville, town of Stantonburg, Tri-County EMC, Williams Fuel, and Wilson Energy.

Also changed is the amount of money that is awarded.

In previous years, the amount ranged from $60 to $120. It is now $200 or $400, depending on the fuel being used. People who heat with wood, natural gas, coal or electricity are eligible for $200, while people who heat with fuel oil, kerosene or LP gas are eligible for $400.