Governor Dannel P. Malloy is reminding Connecticut residents who need help paying winter heating bills that there is still time to apply for federal energy assistance benefits.
"Applications for winter heating assistance remain available at more than 130 sites throughout the state," Governor Malloy said. "I encourage the public to call the 2-1-1 Infoline for guidance about the closest application site. Even with reductions from sequestration in Washington, we anticipate having enough energy assistance funding available to serve all Connecticut families and individuals who are eligible for the program."
The deadline for applying is May 1, although households heating with oil, kerosene or propane are encouraged to apply by March 15 to be able to access full benefits, if eligible.
Nearly 100,000 applications have been received so far this winter, with over 82,000 households approved for basic benefits of up to $575. Applications are running slightly above last year's rate, and the number of eligible households is up by 3%.
This year's aid is again distributed through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) for low-income families and individuals, and the Contingency Heating Assistance Program (CHAP) for households with higher incomes.
The state's energy assistance plan anticipated that about 118,000 households will receive home-heating aid over the winter, compared to 100,000 served last winter. About $84 million in federal energy funding is expected to cover the cost for Connecticut.
Under the recently-enacted sequester, Connecticut is anticipating a loss of approximately $4 million in federal energy assistance funds, according to information received from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Basic benefits for CEAP range from $350 to $575 for homeowners and renters whose heat is not included in the rent; and up to $120 for tenants whose heat is included. Also, CEAP-eligible households using "deliverable" fuels -- heating oil, kerosene and propane -- may be eligible for a one-time crisis assistance benefit of up to $400. The CHAP basic benefit is $300, with potential for $100 in crisis benefits for households using deliverable fuels.
Eligibility is based on household size, income and liquid assets.
The following are examples of eligibility for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program:
Households with maximum income up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($34,575 for a family of four).
Households with a member age 60 and older, under the age of six, or with a disability, maximum income up to 200 percent of federal poverty level ($46,100 for a family of four).
Households with higher incomes may be eligible for the Contingency Heating Assistance Program:
Households with maximum income up to 60 percent of the state median income ($61,184 for family of four).
Energy assistance is administered by the Department of Social Services and coordinated through regional Community Action Agencies.
Applicants can sign up at one of several Community Action Agencies or partner sites around the state or can call the 2-1-1 Infoline for the location of the nearest local application site.
The state's Community Action Agencies include:
Community Action Committee of Danbury, Inc. (203) 748-5422
New Opportunities, Inc. (Waterbury area) (203) 756-8151
Bristol Community Organization, Inc. (860) 582-7490
Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. (860) 225-1084
Community Renewal Team, Inc. (Hartford area) (860) 560-5800 or 1-800-798-3805; (Middletown area) (860) 347-4465, ext. 247
ACCESS, Inc. (Willimantic area) (860) 450-7423; (Danielson area) (860) 774-0418
Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc. (Norwich area) (860) 889-1365 ext. 9; (New London area) (860) 444-0006
New Opportunity for Greater Meriden (203) 235-0278 (sponsored by New Opportunities, Inc.)
Community Action Agency of New Haven, Inc. (203) 387-7700
TEAM, Inc. (Derby-Ansonia-Shelton area) (203) 736-5420
Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. (203) 384-6904
Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now, Incorporated (Norwalk area) (203) 663-7347; (Stamford area) (203) 352-4846
In addition to calling 2-1-1, the public can also obtain information on eligibility requirements and benefits by visiting www.ct.gov/staywarm.