The Department of Community Affairs recently announced that supplemental
benefits are available through the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Eligible households do not need to reapply for the program to receive
supplemental benefits. The benefits are available because LIHEAP funding
for the year increased beyond the original projection provided by the
Nearly 158,000 households that heat their homes with gas will receive an
added benefit of $100 while those that heat with electric will receive a
$250 benefit. Approximately 28,000 families that heat with deliverable
fuels, such as oil or propane, will receive a $175 supplemental benefit.
Also, about 51,000 households that received medically-required cooling
assistance will receive a $100 supplemental benefit.
The DCA's Division of Housing and Community Resources administers the LIHEAP
program, which is a federally-funded initiative that helps low-income
residents with their heating and cooling bills, and makes provisions for
emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance. To be
eligible for LIHEAP benefits, a household must be responsible for home
heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent; and have
gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
The LIHEAP application also serves as an application for the Universal
Service Fund (USF) Program, which is run by the New Jersey Board of Public
Utilities. USF helps low-income households pay for their electric and
natural gas costs. LIHEAP eligible households may also be eligible to
receive USF assistance.
To be eligible for USF, a household gross income must be at or below 175% of
the federal poverty level, and pay more than 3% of its annual income for
electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. If a household has electric
heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be
eligible. USF applications are accepted throughout the year.
For more information on LIHEAP, or to find the nearest agency participating
in the program, please log on to www.energyassistance.nj.gov or call