With night temperatures predicted to drop into the 30s and daytime temperatures in the mid-40s over the next few weeks, many Georgia residents may find themselves struggling to keep their homes warm. For some residents, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may help ease the burden of high heating bills this winter.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that provides up to $350 in assistance for Georgia residents who earn 60 percent or less of the estimated state median income, which is $68,448 for a family of four. This means that a single person who earns less than $21,356 per year or a couple that earns less than $27,927 per year is eligible for the assistance. A family of four must earn at least $41,069 or less. Those who believe they are eligible are encouraged to apply through a local community action agency after the first of December each year. Elderly or homebound individuals may apply as early as the first of November each year. Funding is issued in the form of a check made payable to a local utility company, such as an electric, oil or gas company, depending on the type of heat in the home. Subsidized housing tenants whose utility costs are included in their rent are ineligible to apply.

Thousands Helped Each Year
Each year, LIHEAP provides heating assistance to more than 190,000 families with an average grant of between $310 and $350. There is also crisis assistance available when lack of heat may lead to a life-threatening situation. In those cases, payment may be made within 18 hours. The assistance is available from January 1 through May 1. There is also cooling assistance available in the summer months for those who qualify.

Other Services
In addition to LIHEAP, community organizations may have information on other heating assistance programs for those who may not be eligible for LIHEAP. Through the Division of Energy Resources, Georgia residents may be eligible for the Weather Assistance Program (WAP) as well. WAP provides education to the public on energy saving activities and provides assistance to as many as 650 households in the state. The goal is to reduce energy consumption in low-income households by installing ceiling installation, windows, caulking and weather-stripping. Each WAP project must cost $4,000 or less and priority is given to the elderly and disabled. In order to qualify for WAP, the household income must be at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

To learn more about the programs available for heating assistance, visit the Georgia DFCS office to learn which community agencies have applications available. Interested homeowners can also call 1-877-423-4746 to learn which community action agencies have information on assistance to keep their home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Waggoner Insurance wants everyone to have a safe, warm, healthy home regardless of the weather outside. Contact us today to learn how we can provide you with insurance services to keep your family and home protected.

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