The state of Kentucky and federal government LIHEAP and weatherization programs help families pay their bills, and keep their homes warm and more energy efficient. Low income households, in particular those with children, senior, or disabled members, are the primary recipients of cash grants from these resources.
The Kentucky weatherization and low income energy assistance programs help almost 150,000 struggling, unemployed, or low income Kentucky families pay their heating or cooling bills every year. The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services allocates funding to the state and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. All grants are disbursed by, and home improvements are completed by, Community Action Agencies in your town or county, and that is where you need to go to apply.
Funds from LIHEAP can assist eligible low income households. The cash grants can assist them with paying their regular winter heating and/or summer cooling bills (known as a subsidy), or a crisis component can help when they are on the verge of a disconnection or out of fuel. The money for paying summer cooling costs and air conditioning bills is more limited, and is only offered when funds are available.
The subsidy component is for paying heating bills, and is available in November and over the course of the winter. It is only for qualified working poor and low income residents. The LIHEAP program pays the applicants home heating costs for which they are responsible for. Your community action agency will either offer a direct cash payment on your behalf to your utility company, or as an undesignated portion of their rent. The Subsidy Component will set eligibility and benefit amounts that are based on income and type of fuel source. Applicants do not have to be out of heating fuel or do not need to have received a notice of disconnection to qualify. The income scale may be set at a higher level for people who are facing a catastrophic illness.
The Kentucky LIHEAP crisis component starts in January and runs through the end of March. It may end earlier if funding is used up. Applicants to this emergency program must meet the income criteria and be faced with an unexpected emergency situation involving imminent loss of heating energy or their power. Proof is required, such as a disconnect notice or the individual needs to have four or fewer days worth of fuel oil, propane, kerosene, wood or coal available. LIHEAP can also help out if someone is faced with an eviction if they have unpaid rent/utilities. The amount necessary to alleviate the crisis will be provided up to a maximum benefit. People who receive aid must agree to pay a portion of the outstanding bill or account balance.
Get help with paying air conditioning and cooling bills during the summer from LIHEAP. It can distribute a one-time payment to the household's cooling or electric provider. In addition to grants for bills, free air conditioners or box fans may be provided for households where residents are at risk for health problems due to the heat. The air conditioners tend to be passed out to seniors or households with young children.
The Kentucky Weatherization Program reduces home heating bills by lowering energy consumption. A multitude of energy conservation, health and safety measures are included as part of this program, including the following. Receive free attic insulation, repair or replacement of inefficient heating systems, stopping air infiltration, CFL bulbs, and more. The weatherization program also has an educational component to help low-income households learn how to conserve energy.
Similar to the low income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) referenced above, the Community Action Agencies operate the weatherization program across Kentucky. Studies show that homes that are weatherized see a reduction of their energy consumption by an average of 20%, which can be equivalent to a few hundred dollars per year. The state and government grants will weatherize homes at no cost for qualified elderly, handicapped, and low-income individuals that need assistance keeping their home warm (or cool) and more energy efficient.
The three main steps are as follows. First, an inspector will visit the home and provide the client with a free energy assessment using a tool called a neat audit. After this initial inspection is completed, a crew of highly trained contractors will be assigned to the residence and they will perform the necessary work and updates. The third step of the process is an inspection to review the job and ensure work was completed to satisfaction of the homeowners and program terms.
If you do decide to apply for Kentucky LIHEAP assistance or energy conservation, some of what you may need includes the following. More than likely you will need a recent payroll stub or other proof of current gross income as well as recent copies of your utility bills. Other documentation includes income from Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, pension funds, disability, etc, Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence, and information on total members living in your household.
For information call your local community action agency or the Kentucky Division of Family Support at (800) 456-3452.
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