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Kansas program helps those with low incomes pay utility bills

If your wallet’s nearly empty by the time the utility bills come due, the Low Income Energy Assistance Program may be able to help.
If your wallet’s nearly empty by the time the utility bills come due, the Low Income Energy Assistance Program may be able to help. Courtesy photo

Kansans who find it difficult to pay for utilities during winter may find some relief in the Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families will begin taking applications Tuesday through March 31.

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, an average benefit of $522 went to more than 48,000 households, according to a news release.

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, the type of heating fuel and utility rates. The qualification guidelines are set at 130 percent of the federal poverty level.

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

The maximum monthly income for one person to qualify is $1,265; for two, it’s $1,705; for three, $2,144; for four, $2,584; for five, $3,024; and six, $3,464. According to the release, add $440 for each additional person to the maximum allowable income.

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

Those who would like to request an application can do so through local Department for Children and Families offices, partnering agencies or by calling the department’s toll-free number at 800-432-0043. People also can apply by visiting www.dcf.ks.gov and clicking on Services and then Energy Assistance (LIEAP).

Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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