Vermont’s LIHEAP has undergone significant changes for FY 2011, changes that could allow at least seven thousand additional households to be newly eligible for the program.
As a result of state legislative authorization early last year, the income maximum for regular heating assistance has gone from 125 percent to 185 percent of federal guidelines ($40,793 for a family of four). For crisis assistance, the income maximum has gone from 150 percent to 200 percent of federal guidelines ($44,100 for a family of four).
State officials said broadening the income eligibility threshold for the programs will allow an estimated 27,600 Vermonters to qualify this year, compared to the roughly 20,350 served by the heating assistance and crisis components in FY 2010.
The program also eliminated resource or assets limits. Formerly, applicants were limited to $5,000 in such assets as cash, checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, etc., or $10,000 for those age 60 and over.
The heating assistance and crisis programs make payments to energy providers from November through April. Households must apply by the end of February.
More details on the program are available at the state office website.
Source: State LIHEAP office, newspapers