June-22-2011 Christie Administration Announces Release of Supplemental Home Energy Assistance Benefits
Christie Administration Announces Release of Supplemental Home Energy Assistance Benefits
Approximately 176,000 Households in Need to Receive Additional Funds
TRENTON, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced that approximately 176,000 households throughout New Jersey receiving home energy assistance through the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will soon receive supplemental benefits.
"I recognize the difficult economic times that many New Jerseyans are living through, which is why I am pleased that my administration is able to provide additional benefits to eligible households to help them pay their home heating bills for this past winter season," said Governor Christie.
Eligible households do not need to reapply for the program to receive supplemental benefits. The benefits are available because LIHEAP funding for the year increased beyond the original projections provided by the federal government.
Nearly 158,000 households that heat their homes with gas and/or electric will receive an added benefit of $250. Approximately 19,000 families that heat with deliverable fuels, such as oil or propane, will receive a $100 supplemental benefit, which is in addition to a $250 benefit previously issued in February. Also, about 47,000 households that received medically-required cooling assistance will receive a $75 supplemental benefit.
"The LIHEAP program provides invaluable help to thousands of New Jersey's most vulnerable low-income households and allows residents to pay for other necessities such as food, clothing and health care," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa. "It is a safety net for those who, with limited financial resources, have little ability to deal with seasonal and unexpected increases in home energy costs."
The DCA's Division of Housing and Community Resources administers the LIHEAP program, which is a federally-funded initiative that helps low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills, and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance. To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, a household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent; and have gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
The LIHEAP application also serves as an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF) Program, which is run by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. USF helps low-income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs. LIHEAP eligible households may also be eligible to receive USF assistance.
To be eligible for USF, a household gross income must be at or below 175% of the federal poverty level, and pay more than 3% of its annual income for electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible. USF applications are accepted throughout the year.
For more information on LIHEAP, or to find the nearest agency participating in the program, please log on to www.energyassistance.nj.gov or call 1-800-510-3102 (LIHEAP).