Find help with paying and saving money on heating bills from the state and federal government programs of LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) as well as weatherization. These resources are funded by congress, and can assist people of all backgrounds with limited incomes offset the cost of cooling and heating their homes during the winter or summer. These are grant programs and they will pay the partial cost of natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, coal, wood, propane, kerosene, or other energy sources.
Your local Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services office will provide applications and staff can walk people through the process. Eligibility for these resources are based on the applying household's total income and other assets/resources.
LIHEAP provides direct cash grants for paying your utilities. The total amount offered is based on your household income, type of fuel used, age of home, and location in the state. While the funding will change every year, Nebraska will try to set some minimum funding levels. In the past these have been around $100 for electricity, $200 for heating oil/kerosene, and about $180 for propane. However a number of factors are considered when determining the amount of the grant. In most instances the LIHEAP payment will be sent to the utility providers and the customer will see it as a credit on their account.
For applicants faced with a crisis, meaning you’ve been threatened with a utility shutoff, are out of fuel, or if you have already received a disconnection notice, then these families may be eligible for up to $500 from the Nebraska’s LIHEAP program as additional assistance. To be eligible for the crisis assistance component, income guidelines and other conditions need to be met. The applicant must also have had a recent payment history on their account.
Cooling bill assistance is offered from time to time. Nebraska can hit a hot stretch during the summer months, and the LIHEAP cooling program can help the elderly or people faced with a medical condition. Applicants need to be 70 or older or have some specific and serious medical condition that makes a person susceptible to extreme heat. Call Health & Human Services at (402) 471-3121, or stop by your local office.
Weatherization and energy conservation is available in Nebraska. Low income families who meet qualifications will have their home evaluated and updated if need be. Individuals will receive the most effective energy and dollar saving improvements. Some homes can receive a few thousands dollars worth of modernization and energy conserving materials.
The US government provides funds and grants to Nebraska to pay for weatherization assistance. The amount available will change from year to year and there is often a waiting list. Please be patient. Your home will be weatherized as soon as possible. Renters and homeowners can apply, and services are available for single-family home, multi-family housing complex, or even a mobile home.
Improvements that can be made include additional insulation to the walls, attic, and/or floors. If insulation is added to your home, other updates may include holes that may be drilled in the siding as vents may be added to the roof. These free improvements will greatly reduce airflow and heat loss during the cold Nebraska winter.
Contractors from your local community action agency will perform a free efficiency inspection of your fuel oil, natural gas, and/or propane furnaces. They will also review boilers and water heaters. Weatherization can also replace broken glass in primary windows, as well as install or adjust door weather-stripping, thresholds, and/or door sweeps. Dial (402) 471-3121 for information or applications.
Weatherization will also focus on Heating Efficiency Improvements. In some cases entire furnaces may be replaced because of severe malfunction or cracked heat exchangers. Contractors will test for carbon monoxide in the air in the living space and in the combustion appliance zone, and check all heating systems for fuel leaks.
The end result of all these conservation efforts will be that the Nebraska family will experience an increase in comfort levels, your heating and cooling bills will go down by hundreds of dollars per year, and also your carbon footprint will be reduced. For example, after a home has been weatherized, energy used for heating is often reduced by up to 25 percent, and the improvements are permanent and will last many years.
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