With heating costs rising, some Iowans are eligible for energy assistance

With heating costs rising, some Iowans are eligible for energy assistance

DESMOINES, Iowa. (KMTV) — Frigid temperatures have made their way across the midwest and AARP Iowa says heating costs could be nearly 30% higher than last year.

Some Iowans may be eligible for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

See AARP Iowa’s full press release below:

Cold winter temperatures have officially arrived in Iowa, and many residents will soon be facing higher utility bills as the price of fuel continues to impact heating costs. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects homes heated with natural gas could see prices 28% higher than last winter, while homes heated by electricity will see a 10% increase.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program designed to assist low income families meet the cost of home heating by providing a one-time payment to the heating utility. The program has seen its funding doubled by Congress, but many eligible customers are not aware of this assistance option.

“For many low- and fixed-income Iowans, heating a home can be a significant strain on their monthly budget, but the high cost of energy is making it even worse this season,” said Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa State Director. “Now is the time to make sure individuals and families who need this assistance can get it. We encourage all eligible residents to apply for LIHEAP assistance as soon as possible.”

LIHEAP in Iowa is administered by the Iowa Department of Human Rights and local community action agencies [humanrights.iowa.gov]. During fiscal year 2021, more than 74,600 Iowa households received LIHEAP funding to assist with a portion of their heating costs, with an average statewide heating assistance benefit of approximately $455.

Applications are accepted by local community action agencies [humanrights.iowa.gov] on a first-come, first-serve basis starting November 1 each year (those who are age 60+ or ​​disabled can begin applying October 1). Eligibility is based on these income level guidelines [humanrights.iowa.gov].

Iowa has ample funding available for eligible residents, and for one year only, funds can be used to pay off past due utility debt. With so many people having accumulated debt over the pandemic just to make ends meet, this program could be a lifeline for those with utility bills they cannot afford to pay.

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