CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged seniors and people with disabilities to take advantage of the early application date for winter heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Starting today, seniors and those who have disabilities can sign up early to receive help with their winter heating costs before extreme cold hits Illinois this winter.
“People shouldn’t have to make the impossible choice between paying their heating bills and feeding their family,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Even though Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, was just this past weekend, it will not be long before families must start thinking about the cost of heating their homes. I urge all seniors and people with disabilities who are eligible for this program to apply now so they can be safe and healthy in the months ahead.”
Through LIHEAP, a state- and federally-funded energy assistance program run by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), heating bill payments are made on behalf of households with incomes of up to 150 % of the federal poverty level. A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,300, a two-person household up to $1,750, and a family of four can earn up to $2,650. Benefits are paid directly to utilities on behalf of eligible households, except for households whose heating costs are included in their rent.
“The Governor’s program benefits families and seniors across Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director, Barry Maram. “Through our local administering agencies, we are aggressively reaching out to every community to make sure that families know what benefits are available to help them stay warm and safe during the winter.”
LIHEAP energy grant applications are processed through a network of 35 Community Action agencies around the state. These agencies start accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis from the elderly, disabled persons, and other priority households on September 2. LIHEAP is expected to make energy assistance payments on behalf of more than 300,000 households this winter with an anticipated $150 million in state and federal funding. For a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administering agencies and additional information about the program, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free Keep Warm Illinois hotline at 1-877-411-WARM.