01/14/13 — Heating bill assistance numbers lower

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Heating bill assistance numbers lower

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 14, 2013 1:46 PM

Through Friday, 428 Wayne County households have been approved for assistance with their heating bills through the state-administered federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

That brings the total aid received to $93,100, as compared to 468 households and $127,400 for the same period last year.

"The payments are not the same as last year," said Debbie Jones, Wayne County Social Services director. "Last year it was $200 and $400 based on the heating source. However, this year the payments are $200, $300 and $400. The amounts are set by the federal government."

Most have been $200 payments, she said.

The state requires that the payments be made directly to the heating provider, which must have a vendor agreement with the Department of Social Services.

The county began accepting applications on Dec. 3 and will continue through March 28 or until the funds are spent.

Only households containing an elderly person age 60 or older, or a disabled person receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services, are eligible to potentially receive benefits from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31., or until the funds have been spent.

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

There are no automatic approvals. All households must meet income and resource eligibility requirements and must apply for the funds.

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.

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.