Kansans can seek help with energy bills

Low-income Kansans can begin applying Tuesday for help paying winter heating bills.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program helped 46,959 households last year, paying out an average of $844.

Applications will be accepted through March 31.

The primary groups helped are people with disabilities, elderly Kansans and low-income families with children.

Assistance varies based on household income, the number of people living at the address, the type of home, type of fuel used for heating and utility rates.

To qualify, applicants must:

* Be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills.

* Demonstrate they have made payments on their energy bills during the past three months. Those combined payments must equal 10 percent of the household's monthly gross income, or $80, whichever is less.

* Meet income guidelines, which are a maximum of $1,174 for a one-person household; $1,579 for a two-person household; $1,984 for a three-person household; $2,389 for a four-person household; and $2,794 for a five-person household. For households greater than five people, add $406 for each additional person.

Anyone receiving an SRS benefit — cash or medical or food assistance — will automatically receive an application packet in the mail.

Applications also are available starting Tuesday at local SRS offices or by calling 800-432-0043. To apply online starting Tuesday, go to www.ks-energy-assistance.com.