Energy aid deadline pushed to April 18

Gov. Tom Corbett has extended the deadline to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to Friday, April 18.

“Pennsylvania has had a difficult winter, and programs like LIHEAP have helped our most vulnerable households to endure the cold temperatures,” Corbett said. “By providing this extension, our Department of Public Welfare is able to give individuals additional time to apply for home heating assistance so they can keep warm for the remainder of the season.”

Since the beginning of the LIHEAP season on Nov. 4, the department has processed approximately 357,000 applications for cash assistance to help low-income households pay for home heating fuel. It has also granted more than 107,000 crisis grants, which assist with heating emergencies such as a furnace failure or unexpected fuel shortages.

Cash grants are based on household income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel used.

Bob Raible, executive director of the Warren-Forest Economic Opportunities Council, said that while the County Assistance Board is responsible for cash assistance for heating fuels and emergencies like overdue bills or unexpected fuel shortages, EOC handles non-fuel emergency repairs to furnaces or frozen pipes.

He said that the repairs are generally limited to replacement parts; entire units are replaced only if the parts are not available.

All emergency repairs must be referred to EOC through the County Assistance Board.

Funding for this portion comes through state Department of Community Economic Development grants. The EOC’s grant for this fiscal year, which ended in September, is $178,518. Raible said that about $102,000 has been spent so far, and remaining funds will be used for weatherization projects in households that have received non-fuel emergency assistance.

He added that so far this year, 62 households in Warren and Forest counties have been served, as opposed to 72 last year.

Individuals can apply for a LIHEAP grant online at www.compass.state.pa.us or in person at county assistance offices. Call the statewide toll-free hotline at 1-866-857-7095 with questions about the program.

For more information about LIHEAP, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us.