More help is on the way for low-income people trying to pay their heating and electrical bills as a result of LIHEAP revisions in Wisconsin and New Mexico.
In Wisconsin, the average heating payment per household will increase by about 35 percent, from $389 to $525 – based on a lower than expected caseload of 220,000 recipients.
Families who have already applied for and received benefits will get the extra help in the form of a credit on their next utility bill. The actual amount is dependent on family income.
The state will make available at least $5 million from its public benefits funding to assist low-income households with the payment of their electric bills, as authorized in 2009 Wisconsin Act 28. Wisconsin combines its LIHEAP and public benefits funding to help with both heating and electric bills.
In New Mexico, the Human Services Department announced that qualified families on average can receive an extra $40 in LIHEAP benefits.
To date, about 60,000 New Mexicans have received benefits averaging $151 per household. The state is offering more assistance because money remains available in the program.
Participating families will automatically get the extra benefit if they are in the same house and using the same energy company since receiving their initial assistance. Those who have moved need to contact a state Income Support Division office. New Mexico’s LIHEAP remains open until August 31 or until funding is depleted.