Low income homeowners and renters can get help paying heating bills from the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. This is the states version of the federal government LIHEAP program, and it is usually offered to families in combination with free weatherization services.
A focus of these two resources is to help offset the winter heating bills of lower income households in Connecticut. Priority is on the elderly, disabled and/or family’s with children under the age of six years of age, and who also meet certain income guidelines. The winter heating assistance pays for a variety of fuel sources, including natural gas, electricity, heating oil, propane, coal, wood, and kerosene. Both programs are administered from local Community Action Agencies, so you need to call your local center to make an appointment to apply.
The Connecticut Department of Social Services runs the program at the state level, in partnership with local non-profit organizations and community action agencies. Homeowners and renters may apply, provided they meet qualifications, including income levels. The formal name of these resources are the Contingency Heating Assistance Program and also the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.
Funding varies every year, as well as eligibility levels. Applicants who are vulnerable or most at risk (including seniors, disabled and children) will receive more in cash benefits from the Energy Assistance Program than people who are not at as much risk. The amount paid out usually ranges from about $300 to $600 per year, depending on your circumstances, income level, and number of household members.
Another service available is the Crisis Assistance Program, and this can pay out an additional $400 or so for heating bills. This is really for people who have used up all of their CEAP benefits, who are about to have their heat turned off, and are in a life threatening situation. The crisis component can pay to have fuel delivered to your home, or money can go towards restoring your power.
The exact definition of a crisis is the family is unable to secure primary heat or fuel, which will then cause a life-threatening condition. It can also be used to help if you are on the verge of running out of fuel, meaning the individual is within one week of being without primary heating fuel (such as propane or natural gas) or if they are faced with imminent disconnection.
Yet another option is the Connecticut Safety Net Services. This is subject to the availability of government grants and funds. Additional aid can be offered for applicants who have exhausted both their Crisis Assistance Benefits as well as Basic Benefits, and who are in a life-threatening situation. What is offered includes, but is not limited to, up to $400 per delivery in Safety Net Assistance Benefits, and some people may apply up to three times per year for this component.
To apply for this program, an extensive application process is in place, including an interview is required. The applicant will be interviewed by a DSS case manager and must complete a risk assessment determination. There will be a review of the household’s income, expenditures, and liquid assets. Safety Net can both help pay for additional fuel, or look for a shelter for you if it is just too late. A variety of efforts will be made to assist the household.
The Safety Net program can be expedited too. Deliverable fuel customers who are within one week of being without heating fuel or who are already out of it can access Prioritized Services. The state of Connecticut will make a determination within 24 hours of your application, and fuel can be delivered within a day or two.
The bottom line is that the Contingency Heating Assistance Program (CHAP) as well as the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) may be able to help low income households pay their primary heating bills or energy source.
The Connecticut Weatherization Assistance Program can assist low-income families and individuals and help them minimize their energy-related costs and fuel usage in their home or apartment. The program will pay for retrofits and various home improvement measures, and all updates are paid for by the US Department of Energy.
Similar to CEAP above, the state’s Community Action Agency network administer the program locally, and in partnership with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. Any priority for home weatherization improvements is given to households that are particularly vulnerable, such as families with children, the elderly, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and other high energy users. While renters can apply as well, the landlord needs to agree to it, and also pay for a portion of the updates. Contact a community action agency in Connecticut for more details on this.
If you are qualified and able to enroll, the weatherization program provides an energy audit to help determine the free weatherization and conservation measures that need to be installed to make the home more energy efficient. Some of what can be paid for may include blower door guided air-sealing, heating system tune-ups and repairs, attic, floor and sidewall insulation and health and safety inspections. The program is run on a one-time only basis only for eligible lower income clients.
In order to apply for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) or weatherization, or to find an intake site, call 1-800-842-1132 or apply at a location below.
Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now, Incorporated serves the greater Norwalk CT region. Dial (203) 899-2484); (Stamford area) (203) 352-4846
The Community Action Committee of Danbury, Inc. Phone number - (203) 748-5422
New Opportunities, Inc. supports the low income in the Waterbury region. (203) 756-8151
Bristol CT Community Organization, Inc. (860) 582-7490
Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. - Phone number is (860) 223-2288
Community Renewal Team, Inc.. Call (860) 560-5800 in Hartford, or dial 1-800-798-3805 in Middletown.
ACCESS, Inc. (Willimantic - Danielson area) (860) 450-7423
Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc. (Norwich-New London area) (860) 425-6681
New Opportunity for Greater Meriden - Telephone (203) 235-0278
Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. - Main number: (203) 384-6904
Community Action Agency of New Haven Connecticut - Phone (203) 387-7700
TEAM, Inc. (Derby-Ansonia-Shelton area) (203) 736-5420
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