Program assisting low-income Mainers with heating oil accepting early applications
July 15, 2008
SANFORD – State Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford, and Rep. John Tuttle, D-Sanford, would like their constituents to know that applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will be accepted early this year, and Maine residents can make an appointment now to apply for heating assistance for this coming winter season.
Community Action Program Agencies across the state, like the York County Community Action Corp.(YCCAC), manage the LIHEAP program locally and schedule appointments for applications and fuel delivery.
“If you qualify for this program, please apply as soon as possible,” said Boland. “The demand for the program was so high last year that many individuals were forced to wait many weeks to receive assistance.”
The program is designed to help low-income Mainers purchase heating oil. Income eligibility is currently $15,600 or less for an individual and $31,800 or less for a family of four. Households with senior citizens or children age 2 and under will get first priority, and the income limits for those homes are $17,680 for an individual and $36,040 for a family of four.
There are different income limits for households of all sizes, from one person up to eight. YCCAC has specific information about those different income limits. The average benefit is expected to be around $417 per household this year, which at current rates would purchase about one-third of a tank of oil.
“LIHEAP is going to provide much needed assistance to many Sanford residents,” said Tuttle. “I hope the early application process will help ease the distress that many Mainers have about how they will pay their heating bills this winter.”
In recent years the U.S. Congress has released additional emergency funds for LIHEAP during the winter season, and the Maine Legislature and Gov. John Baldacci are urging Congress to appropriate more funds for the program this year, as demand and costs have risen so sharply. The federal government has appropriated $17 million for LIHEAP to Maine this year; last year, the state got a total of $38 million after a series of emergency funds were released throughout the winter. There are no projections for the potential of additional funds at this time.
Applicants will not know if they’ve been approved or the total dollar amount that they will receive until fall, but Boland encouraged constituents to apply early in order to beat the rush and have the application process behind them. Thousands of households are expected to apply when the weather gets cold, and applying now will prevent a request from being held up for weeks or months with winter looming.
Maine homeowners and renters in York County can arrange an appointment to apply for assistance by contacting YCCAC at (800) 965-5762. YCCAC will begin to schedule appointments during the week of July 14.
In addition to LIHEAP, there are other state resources available for Mainers of all incomes to save on energy costs. For more information, constituents can contact Rep. Boland at 324-4459 and Rep. Tuttle at 324-5964 or visit a new state web site, which contains helpful information and resources on energy efficiency.
Rep. Andrea Boland, 324-4459
Rep. John Tuttle, 324-5964
Travis Kennedy, Communications Director, 287-1433