State taking applications for energy assistance program

From now through March 29, the Kansas Department for Children and Families is taking applications for its Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).

The program helps qualifying households pay winter heating bills and is offered to people who have disabilities, the elderly, or families with children. Last year, the average benefit of $520.81 went to more than 53,600 households.

To qualify, there are income eligibility guidelines. Benefits vary according to household income, the number of people living in the house, the type of dwelling, type of heating fuel and utility rates. The guidelines are set at 130 percent of the federal poverty level.

The maximum monthly income for one person to qualify for LIEAP is $1,210; for two, it’s $1,639; for three, $2,069; for four, $2,497; and for five, $2,926.

LIEAP applicants must show they have paid energy bills for two of the last three months. The payments must have equaled or exceeded $80 or the total balance due on their energy bills, whichever was less.

People who qualified for assistance last year have already received their applications.

People who would like to request applications can do so through local Department for Children and Families offices or by calling the department’s toll-free number at 800-432-0043. People also can apply online at