Wayne County Department of Social Services will begin accepting applications Wednesday for the state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.

Households including a person aged 60 or older, or an individual receiving disability benefits and services through the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, are eligible to sign up for assistance.

Eligible residents who receive Food and Nutrition Services and also received LIEAP funds last year may qualify to receive an automated payment this year.

Eligible households will be notified in November and do not need to apply. All other households can apply from Jan. 3 through March 31, or until funds are exhausted.

The energy assistance program is federally funded and provides a one-time payment directly to the utility company or heating vendor to help offset the cost of heating during cold-winter months.

Depending on a household’s primary heating source, the payment will be $300, $400 or $500.

To be eligible, a person must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets eligibility criteria; have income equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty limit; have resources, such as saving and checking accounts, cash on hand, at or below $2,250; and be responsible for heating costs.

The income threshold is $1,395 or less per month for a household of one; $2,871 or less per month for a household of four.

Applicants are not required to complete applications in the office or have a face-to-face interview. All applicants will be interviewed by telephone.

To apply, pick up an application at 100 S. James St., access an application and submit it online at https://epass.nc.gov or www.waynegov.com, or call 919-731-1577 to have it sent through the mail.

Completed applications need to be mailed or placed in the drop box located at Wayne County DSS, 100 S. James St, Goldsboro, N.C., 27530; faxed to 919-731-1106, or emailed to energy.assistance@waynegov.com.

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