DHR's Energy Assistance Program receives emergency funds to assist Georgians

ATLANTA (GA) – Georgia's Department of Human Resources (DHR) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will receive an additional $1,508,150 million in emergency funds from Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide assistance to low-income, elderly and disabled Georgians with their heating bills. The need for these emergency funds was prompted by the increases in home heating fuel prices this winter and the colder than normal January weather in many states.

Georgia's LIHEAP received approximately $17.9 million in federal funds, and $2.8 million in Public Service Commission Universal Service Funds (USF), when the program began in November plus another $6 million in USF in December, and several donations. These additional funds bring Georgia's total to approximately $29.3 million to assist Georgians with their heating bills.

"Rising fuel prices and a harsh winter have made it difficult for many Georgians to pay for their home energy bill, causing an increase in the number of people seeking assistance. These additional funds will assist us in helping more Georgians stay safe and healthy this winter," says Governor Sonny Perdue.

Local community action agencies administer all available funds under state contracts and payments are made directly to the home energy supplier (in most cases) for gas, electricity, propane gas, wood, coal or kerosene. Qualifying applicants will receive payments of either $174 or $220. Seniors, age 65 years and older served by Atlanta Gas Light resources (AGLR), may be eligible for additional payments as long as USF are available.

To participate in the program, the family must meet a yearly income equal to or less than 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For a one-person household, that would be $13,470; for two people $18,180; for three people $22, 890; for four people $27,600; for five people 32,310; for six people $37,020; for seven people $41,730; for eight people $46,440; for each additional person add $4,710 annual income.

To qualify, applicants must bring their most recent fuel bill or statement of service from their heating provider. They also must have proof of income for all household members for the last thirty days. This may be a paycheck stub, a letter granting public assistance, Social Security or unemployment benefits. Applicants must also have the social security numbers of all household members.

Help will be provided on a first-come first serve basis until the funds are exhausted. For more information and applications, contact the Division of Family and Children Services’ Community Services Section at 404-656-2323 in metro Atlanta, or toll free at 1-877-423-4746.

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Connie Sumpter

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