What you need to know about statewide utility bill assistance program

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Need help covering your heating bills this winter? A program that can pitch in kicked off Monday across the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf, announcing the start of LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, called it being a good neighbor.

“We want to make sure that our neighbors, for whatever reason, when they need this, they have it,” he said.

Last year the state helped around 400,000, to the tune of roughly $180 million in assistance.

“Whether they heat their homes with wood, they have electricity or they have gas, LIHEAP is literally a lifeline for them,” said Ted Dallas, secretary of the state Department of Human Services.

The money is all federal, so it’s not hampered by the state budget impasse.

The assistance is based on income: for one person, the limit is $17,655; it’s $23,895 for a family of two, and $30,135 for a family of three.

And just because it’s not cold yet doesn’t mean you should wait.

“People kind of think they have more time,” said Public Utility Commissions chair Gladys Brown. “But now is the time in terms of reaching out to your utility companies to talk to them about the options that you have.”

Most applications are processed within a month, but it may take longer if there are errors or incomplete information.

“My concern is that people come to us too late, you know, when they’re like stuck in a cold house,” said Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin. “We urge people to come and plan ahead.”

Visit www.compass.state.pa.us, or call 1-866-857-7095 for more information, or to apply.

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