Low-Income Energy Assistance available
LIEAP can help with utility bills. Deadline is Feb. 28.
February 16, 2006
Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal is encouraging consumers to apply for the state's energy assistance program before its five-month application window closes. The application period for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP, pronounced LEE-ap) ends Feb. 28.
Only about 30 percent of the eligible households in Wyoming are taking advantage of the program, implying that those families whose incomes are toward the upper end of the current guidelines may not be applying for assistance.
Statistics show that nearly 75 percent of LIEAP recipients this year earn less than 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, meaning the remaining 25 percent of LIEAP recipients earn an income between 126-185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
"Often, the people in the middle are those who could use a little bit of help, but they have fewer options for getting it," Freudenthal said. "I would encourage them and anybody who is eligible to give the state a call. Utility bills are causing many households a lot of grief, and this program might be able to help make that burden a little lighter."
Through the middle of February, 11,600 Wyoming households have applied for assistance through LIEAP, and the program has approved 10,600 households for an energy assistance benefit. The governor said he encourages everyone who is eligible for assistance to apply, particularly since the household may quality for weatherization services in addition to LIEAP funds.
In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the State of Wyoming, you must need financial assistance for home energy costs and your household's annual income before taxes must not exceed $13,965 if one person lives in the household; $18,735 if two people live in the household; $23,505 if three people live in the household; $28,275 if four people live in the household; $33,045 if five people live in the household; $37,815 if six people live in the household, or $42,585 if seven people live in the household. For larger households, add $4,770 for each additional person in the home.
The Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) administers the Heating Assistance or Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). Benefits are based on household size, household income and the type of fuel used as the primary heating source. Payments are made directly to the fuel provider.
Crisis Assistance payments are available to eligible clients who are facing an emergency situation: A life or health threatening situation, deposit funds for a fuel hook-up or to avoid a shut-off, or a heating system failure during winter months are considered crisis situations. LIEAP is a Federal emergency assistance block grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
LIEAP will continue to process applications through the end of February. They must be postmarked Feb. 28 or sooner, and applications received by fax (307-472-2078) must arrive before the close of business on Feb. 28.
For more information on LIEAP, call 800-246-4221. More information is available on the web, and application downloads, at http://pathways.state.wy.us/html/LIEAP_main.html