Older adults and people with disabilities can now apply for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Low Income Energy Assistance Program. The state began accepting applications from this group of residents on Dec. 1.
The federally funded program helps low-income households with a direct, one-time payment directly to their heating vendor to offset the high cost of warming their homes during the cold weather months.
"We recognize the cost of heating a home this coming winter will be higher due to an increase in energy prices," said NCDHHS Senior Director for Human Services, Carla West. "Our goal is to ensure older adults and people with disabilities who may be facing a financial hardship have the funds to help with their heating expenses this year."
Payments will be distributed automatically to heating vendors beginning in December 2022 if a member of the household meets the following three requirements:
- Is age 60 or older or a person with a disability receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services,
- Currently receiving Food and Nutrition Services; and
- Received a LIEAP payment during the 2021-2022 season.
Households meeting the requirements for the automatic payment were notified of their eligibility in November 2022 and do not need to re-apply for LIEAP.
Any household with a person 60 or older or with a disability receiving DAAS services who did not receive notice of an automated payment can apply online at www.epass.nc.gov. Applicants can also call their county department of social services to apply by phone or print a paper application from www.epass.nc.gov to mail, fax or drop off at their county department of social services. To be eligible for the LIEAP program, a household must:
- Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility requirements,
- Have income equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty limit, and
- Be responsible for their heating cost.
Beginning on Jan. 3, 2023, all other eligible households who meet the eligibility requirements may begin applying. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 3, 2023, to March 31, 2023, or until funds are exhausted.
Last year, the program provided approximately $114 million to help more than 168,000 households pay their heating bills from December 2021 through March 2022. For more information on the program and eligibility, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/low-income-energy-assistance.