Utility assistance from Aging Services in Manatee County Florida.

Emergency home energy bill assistance is available in Manatee County Florida for older residents and senior citizens. The non-profit, government affiliated organization Aging Services accepts and processes applications. Some of the details and terms of the program are noted below.

The state of Florida provides funding for this particular resource. Using that statewide grant money, as well as other donations and money from the federal government, the county can approve up to $600 in utility and electric bill assistance for a household. Funds are offered up to twice a year for qualified senior citizens. The program is extended to Peace River Cooperative as well as Florida Power & Light and customers.

The formal name of the service offered is the Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly. It is based on some of the same principles as LIHEAP, or low income energy assistance. The EHEAP program assists households with at least one person aged 60 and who owes money for past due notices, payment of electric final notices, utility deposits, or other expenses. Other allowable assistance and expenses covered includes kerosene, natural gas, fuel oil, or repairs or replacement of existing heating or cooling equipment.

In past years Manatee County had some fairly significant amount of funds to provide. In general the county has had about $18,000 to distribute to needy customers, with most of the money being distributed before July 31, according to the county's human services manager.

The resources offered are crisis benefits for people with no other options. So aid is for people who are in jeopardy of having their power turned off or who need it turned back on. Recipients of grants from the county must have a final notice, past due amount or owe money on a reconnection deposit owed in order to get the financial assistance.





There are both age and income restrictions in place as well. Applicants must be part of a household with a gross annual income of less than about $16,500 for a single person or $22,500 for two people, and they need to have at least one person age 60 or older who lives in the home.

To get more details, learn more or to apply for the Manatee County Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly grant, dial (941) 749-3030 to reach Aging Services. Applications are by appointment only. Call to meet with a case worker to discover options that may be available to you and your family.

Another program that may have some financial help for utilities is Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, Inc. Call 941-747-4655. A number of services are offered by this non-profit and the volunteers who work with it. The agency can provides nutritional home-delivered meals, food bank, adult daycare, emergency heat and energy assistance, transportation, Friendship Dining Centers, volunteer opportunities, and information on government and public aid such as LIHEAP.






By Jon McNamara

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