October is here – which means it is time to sign up for Vermont’s Seasonal Heating Fuel Assistance Program (“LIHEAP”) and receive full benefits. This program can offset winter heating costs by anywhere from a few hundred to even a few thousand dollars. It can lower your bills whether you heat with oil, kerosene, propane, electric, coal, wood pellets, or cordwood.
Many people wait until the middle of winter to apply, when the temperature, fuel level in the tank, and bank accounts are all running low. But by waiting until after November, even those found eligible receive only a portion of what they would otherwise be awarded. And half of Vermont seniors who are eligible never even apply at all, leaving money on the table.
Our Outreach Staff will be available at 35 locations throughout our area during the month of October to help you sign up (See link at the end of this article.) Please remember to bring your account numbers with both your fuel dealer and your electric company.
This program is income and household-size based. If your income is at or below these levels, you qualify:
Household of 1 – $2,248/month
Household of 2 – $3,040/month
Benefits are sent directly to your fuel company on your behalf, giving you a credit for the season. In the case of wood, it will either appear on an EBT card containing a cash amount, or could be directly deposited into your bank account.
There are many misconceptions about this program: It doesn’t matter if you own your home, or rent, as long as you are incurring a heating cost. It doesn’t have an “asset test,” so the value of your vehicles, property, and bank accounts are immaterial.
Call the Senior Solutions HelpLine at 802-885-2669 to obtain an application or receive assistance making an application over the phone, while you are still entitled to full seasonal benefits. Or, come out to one of our “pop-up” Fuel Assistance sessions, where you can receive information, chat with someone, or complete an application at any of our 35 assistance sessions.