Dec-22-08 Governor Corzine Announces $58 Million In Home Energy Assistance
Governor Corzine Announces $58 Million In Home Energy Assistance
First Round of LIHEAP Assistance Given to Over 103,000 New Jersey Residents
TRENTON, N.J. – Governor Jon S. Corzine today announced that $58 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits will be given out to over 103,875 households in New Jersey this month. This year, the Governor raised income eligibility for this program from 175% of the federal poverty level to 225%. This increase will allow approximately 50,000 more households to be eligible for LIHEAP (projected households is 245,000, compared to 196,000 last year).
“During these harsh economic times, it is incumbent that government do all it can to help those most vulnerable,” said Governor Corzine. “By expanding energy assistance programs like LIHEAP, we are able to reach many more New Jerseyans who otherwise might have to go without heating their homes this winter.”
Households heated by deliverable fuel will receive an average of $1,200 per household. Many of these households will receive Universal Service Fund (USF) benefits as well. Households heated by gas will receive an average of $1,289 per household and those heated by electric will receive an average of $982 per household. Gas and electric figures include USF benefits. The first supplemental checks were sent out over the past week to current LIHEAP recipients. Additional rounds of checks will be sent out in 2009.
"Governor Corzine's expansion of this program will allow thousands of additional New Jersey residents to receive the assistance they need this winter,” said Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Commissioner Joseph Doria. "Additionally, I want to thank our federal legislators, who played a key role in securing additional funding this year."
LIHEAP provides low-income households with money to help pay their winter heating bills. LIHEAP funding is administered through the DCA’s Division of Community Resources. This year, DCA will receive $185,773,240 in funds, compared to approximately $117,300,000 received last year. The Governor also enhanced the electric benefit 10% over last year’s benefit, enhanced the gas benefit 17% over last year’s benefit and enhanced the oil household benefit to average approximately four times last year’s benefit. The 103,875 households and $58 million, awarded for the period of November-December, 2008, represents an increase of nearly 2,400 households and $25 million compared to November-December, 2007.
For further information on LIHEAP and USF, call toll-free: 1-800-510-3102, or log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/dcr/hea/index.shtml.