FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2005) – Kentucky families on the verge of having their utilities disconnected may qualify for assistance to warm their homes this winter.
Applications for help from the crisis phase of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which began on Monday, Jan. 10, are being accepted at county community action offices.
The short-term aid program operates in subsidy mode in November and December and is available to clients at or below 110 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
In the second phase – crisis – another qualification is added to the income standards. Eligible clients must be within four days of exhausting fuel or have received a disconnect notice from their utility.
The Kentucky Association for Community Action administers LIHEAP benefits through its network of community action agencies (CAAs) under a contract with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Full funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (HHS). Kentucky’s share of the program’s $1.8 billion budget is $26 million, said Glenna Reed, LIHEAP’s coordinator at the cabinet.
The state’s budget includes just more than $1 million in emergency funds, part of $100 million in aid that HHS released to the states late last month.
About $10.5 million remains to serve families in dire need, Reed said. Funds are available through March 31 or until they run out. Staff expect the money to last through February, Reed said.
In crisis mode, qualifying clients may receive up to $125 in cumulative aid for gas and electricity, Reed said. That’s $25 more than last year’s amount. Bulk fuel assistance will vary depending on need.
Benefits are limited to the amount required to relieve the crisis, Reed said. "While energy costs have increased, we always try to help as many families as we can within our limited budget," she said.
Assistance may take the form of utility payment, service reconnection, blankets, space heaters on loan or deliveries of fuel like firewood, coal or propane. Relief is provided within 48 hours or 18 hours in an emergency.
Kentucky’s 23 CAAs provide the assistance through their offices in every county.
Applicants must provide the following items:
- Proof of income for all household members for the previous month;
- Social Security numbers for all household members;
- The most recent heating bill or proof that heat is included in the rent and
- A disconnect or past-due notice from a utility, or, for applicants whose rent includes heat, an eviction notice from the landlord.
Maximum monthly income for a family of four is $1,729.
About 93,000 households were helped during the crisis phase last year. This year, Reed expects phase two of LIHEAP will help around 90,000 households – a lower number partly because of the higher aid cap.
Many families avoided a heating crisis by seeking help during LIHEAP’s subsidy phase. During the two-month period, subsidy assistance went to about 103,000 Kentucky families — some of whom may still be paying last year’s high utility bills.
For more information about LIHEAP or a list of CAAs, log onto