Find help with paying heating bills in New Jersey from the Home Energy Assistance Program, which is the states version of LIHEAP. This service is often combined with other federal government and state programs, such as weatherization, Universal Service Fund, and more. While heating bill assistance is the primary form of support provided, some grants may pay for other utility expenses as well, such as cooling bills or furnace/heating system repairs.
Both LIHEAP and weatherization are federal government funded programs, with supplemental funding offered from the state of New Jersey. Priority will be for senior citizens, the disabled, households with young children, and other so called high risk individuals. As if they have their power turned off, or run out of heating fuel, they can be at serious risk.
The New Jersey Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can provide for heating assistance, help in a crisis situation, and can assist with cooling bill expenses if someone has a medical need. In order to get more information or to apply for LIHEAP in NJ, call your local community action agency or a non-profit social service type organization in your town or city.
While the objective of LIHEAP was to assist low-income families and individuals with paying primarily utility and heating bills, some other support can sometimes be provided as well, such as information on weatherization or emergency crisis grants to pay for heating fuel if the applicant is out. The exact amount of any grants paid out by LIHEAP will be determined by many factors such as fuel type, income, household size, and the applicant’s town/heating region in New Jersey. Support may be offered whether you use natural gas, electricity, heating oil, propane, or some other fuel. Federal funding levels are also a key consideration. In general, people may expect a few hundred dollars per year from this program. Any funds will be paid out as a direct credit to a customer’s utility account.
The Department of Community Affairs sets guidelines at the state level. In order to be eligible for grants from LIHEAP, the applicant must be responsible for paying their own home heating or cooling costs. They need to meet certain low income standards. Those who rent may still be eligible. Applicants who live in public housing and/or receive rental assistance (such as section 8 vouchers) are generally not eligible unless they pay for their own heating/cooling costs directly to the fuel supplier or utility company.
There are some additional benefits as well. For example, households certified and enrolled for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and/or the New Jersey Universal Service Fund (USF) are among those protected against utility shutoffs during the winter months from November 15 to March 15. They can also get information about other resource available to them, such as weatherization. Call your local social service or community action agency office for details.
Low income families have other resources available to them as well. Weatherization is another statewide program that is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and paid for by the federal government. As with many government services, it focuses on assisting elderly, handicapped and other qualified low-income persons in improving their heating system efficiency, conserving energy, and in general weatherizing their homes.
WAP provides residents with various types of assistance that can reduce household energy costs and overall usage by improving the overall energy efficiency of their homes. At the same time this is done it will also ensure and improve the home’s overall health and safety. All improvements made are permanent. While the exact amount of savings will vary based on the age of the home, condition, and exact types of improvements, in general families will save over $400 per year on their utility/heating bills.
A network of community based organizations take part in the New Jersey Weatherization Assistance Program, and residents will need to apply in your local town or county. Most of the places to apply at are the same as the LIHEAP centers. While the goal was to help low-income households, this is determined via formula using the number of household members as well as the applicant’s gross household income. All types of priority is given to disabled and elderly residents, along with households with infant children. Assistance and home improvements are free. Also call 1-800-510-3102 for details.
Those who are enrolled will benefit from an energy audit analysis of their home. This will help determine its current energy efficiency, and what can be done to improve it. If needed, the NJ weatherization program will pay for repairs, such as caulking and weather-stripping windows and doors, installing low flow showerheads and faucet aerators, wrap hot water tanks and pipes with insulation, stop drafts by sealing areas of air infiltration, tune and make minor repairs to your furnace/heating system, and much more. Some other possible improvements include insulating attics, walls and floors, replaces light bulbs with high efficient CFL’s, and provide tips and advice on energy saving measures people can take on their own.
These resources, such as LIHEAP, and other programs are administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs but run locally by social service offices and community action agencies. While they primarily help people with heating bills, they may also provide for certain medically-necessary cooling expenses, and help people conserve energy from weatherizing their homes. Call 1-800-510-3102 for more information, including the place to apply in your area.
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