Hoosier households urged to request heating assistance

Woman holding money in front of heating radiator. Payment for heating in winter. Selective focus.

As the cold weather sets in, state agencies are working to make sure Hoosier households know how to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program if they think need help heating their home during the winter.

LIHEAP is a federal program designed to help low-income renters and homeowners, and in Indiana, households earning at least 60% of the federal poverty line are eligible. For a family of four, that’s just under $ 52,000 a year.

Anthony Swinger, director of external affairs for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, said it’s so important that people stay warm.

“We know the winter heating season will be expensive, at least from the projections we’ve seen so far,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to prepare now and take action. “

He said many utilities also have so-called “budget billing” or “level pay” programs that allow customers to pay the same amount each month, so the increased need for heat during the month. the colder months don’t disrupt people’s monthly budgets.

Indiana has a moratorium on utility cuts for households eligible for LIHEAP between December 1 and March 15. This includes people who are already receiving help and those who have not yet received funding but whose request has been processed. That’s why Swinger recommends applying as early as possible if you think you might be falling behind on the electric bill.

“The moratorium is designed to ensure that there is protection in place for the most vulnerable in our communities,” he said, “and this is the reason why you must either receive LIHEAP funding. , or have been deemed eligible for the moratorium to be applied.

He said it’s also important to make sure your heating system is upgraded and running as efficiently as possible to keep your bills down. This means making sure the filters and vents are clean; work to caulk, caulk and seal drafty windows and doors; and open blinds and curtains during the day to take advantage of the sun’s natural heat.

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