Winters in North Dakota have a dramatic effect on home heating costs. The ND Department of Human Services is reminding low-income individuals and families that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Applications are now being accepted at county social services in North Dakota.
This program is federally funded and helps qualifying households in need of assistance pay a portion of their home heating costs. This includes natural gas, electricity, propane, coal, fuel oil, wood, or kerosene. The program also covers the repairs of furnaces and weatherization services.
There are income and asset limits to qualify for the program. This ensures that the program helps those most in need. To qualify, a household can earn up to 60 percent of the state median income, which for a family of three, is about $43,430 per year before taxes.
Applications will be accepted at local county social services offices from October 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. An application is available online at www.nd.gov/eforms/Doc/sfn00529.pdf . The application as well as documentation to verify assets and income levels should be completed and returned to the social services office.
Last year, this program helped just over 13,000 households and paid an average of $1,320 in heating energy costs for each household. The program pays fuel vendors directly on behalf of the qualifying households. About two-thirds of the participating households include people who are elderly, have disabilities, or include children age five and younger.
The ND Department of Human Services contracts with the ND Department of Commerce for weatherization services to help lower heating costs. The weatherization services include home insulation, furnace repair, and other energy-saving improvements to help lower heating costs. The direct work is often carried about by community action agencies.
For more information, visit www.nd.gov/dhs/services/financialhelp/energyassist.html
Information thanks to LuWanna Lawrence and Heather Steffl from ND Department of Human Services.