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Kansas and New Jersey Issue Supplemental LIHEAP Benefits

July 5, 2011--The Kansas LIHEAP office has announced that low-income residents will have a little extra help paying their high utility bills this summer through LIHEAP.

The program provides an annual benefit to help qualifying households pay winter heating bills. This year, funding is available to provide an additional benefit to those households for energy costs incurred during the heat of summer.

Individuals that applied and received a benefit during the regular winter application period will automatically be issued a supplemental benefit of approximately $296, bringing the average benefit for the year to over $550. The program primarily assists individuals with disabilities, elderly persons, and families with children. In the winter of 2011, nearly 62,000 households received an average benefit of $263.

In New Jersey, approximately 176,000 low-income households that received money for their heating bills through LIHEAP will soon receive supplemental benefits, the state Department of Community Affairs announced last week.

Eligible households do not need to reapply to the program to receive supplemental benefits. Nearly 158,000 households that heat their homes with gas or electric will receive an added benefit of $250. Approximately 19,000 families that heat with deliverable fuels, such as oil or propane, will receive a $100 benefit, which is in addition to a $250 benefit previously issued in February.

Another 47,000 households that received medically-required cooling assistance will receive a $75 benefit.

To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, a household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent; and have gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The LIHEAP application also serves as an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF) Program, which is run by the state Board of Public Utilities. USF helps low-income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs. LIHEAP eligible households also may also be eligible to receive USF assistance.

Source: Newspapers