Heating bill assistance available for seniors, disabled individuals

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The Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) and the Ohio Development Services Agency wants to remind Ohioans that assistance is available to help with their home energy bills. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps Ohioans at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines pay their heating bills.

In 2020, the federal poverty guideline for a one-person household is $12,760; the guideline for a household of four is $26,200, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Applied directly to the customer’s utility or bulk fuel bill, the benefit can help manage heating costs. Ohioans can visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov to apply online, download a copy of the application, or find contact information for a local Energy Assistance Provider (EAP).

When applying, individuals need to have copies of the following documents:

· Most recent utility bills.

· A list of all household members (including birth dates and Social Security numbers).

· Proof of income for the past 30 days for all household members (12 months for

certain income types).

· Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members.

· Proof of disability (if applicable).

HEAP benefits are applied to an individual’s energy bill after Jan. 1. Applications for the HEAP program must be received by May 31, 2021.

HEAP is not an emergency program. Low-income households that have been disconnected (or have a pending disconnection notice), need to establish new service, need to pay to transfer service, have 25 percent (or less) of bulk fuel supply remaining, or have a household member who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020, may also be eligible for the HEAP Winter Crisis Program, which began on Nov. 1, 2020. If you need immediate assistance with your energy bills, please contact your local EAP. A list of providers can be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov.

Applications for the HEAP Winter Crisis Program must be received by March 31, 2021. For more information on HEAP, visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or call (800) 282-0880. Hearing-impaired customers can dial 711 for assistance.

Local partners in the AAA7’s core 10-county district include:

Adams County – Adams County Senior Citizens Center, which can be reached at 937-544-3979.

Brown County – Brown County Senior Citizens Center, which can be reached at 937-378-6603.

Gallia County – RSVP of the Ohio Valley, which can be reached at 740-286-4918.

Highland County – Highland County Community Action, which can be reached at 937-393-3458.

Jackson County – RSVP of the Ohio Valley, which can be reached at 740-286-4918.

Lawrence County – Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action, which can be reached at 740-532-3140.

Pike County – Community Action Committee of Pike County, which can be reached at 740-289-2371.

Ross County – Ross County Community Action, which can be reached at 740-702-7222.

Scioto County – Scioto County Community Action, which can be reached at 740-354-7541.

Vinton County – RSVP of the Ohio Valley, which can be reached at 740-286-4918.

You can obtain a HEAP application online at the Ohio Department of Development’s website – look under the tab “Individual” on the home page, or you can contact any of the partners listed previously for more information.

Your local Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. provides services on a non-discriminatory basis. These services are available to help older adults and those with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes through services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, other federal and state resources, as well as private pay. The AAA7’s resource center is also available to anyone in the community looking for information or assistance with long-term care options. Available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm, the resource center is a valuable contact for learning more about options and what programs and services are available for assistance.

Those interested in learning more can call toll-free at 1-800-582-7277 (TTY: 711). Here, individuals can speak directly with a specially-trained resource specialist who will assist them with information surrounding the programs and services that are available to best serve their needs. The agency also offers an in-home assessment at no cost for those who are interested in learning more. Information is also available on www.aaa7.org, or the agency can be contacted through e-mail at [email protected] The agency also has a Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAgingDistrict7.

Submitted by Jenni Lewis, Director of Community Outreach and Training for the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.

Submitted story