LOVELY AUTUMN WEATHER is forecast this weekend and early next week for much of the region. But winter weather already is on the minds of some people — particularly those who are concerned they may not have enough money to pay for heating their place of residence.
Monday is the first day applications for help with heating costs will be accepted by the North Dakota Department of Human Services. The program aims to help low-income state residents, both individuals and families concerned about winter heating.
The federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) pays for part of the heating costs of qualifying households, as well as furnace repairs and weatherization services, according to a Department of Human Services news release.
“To qualify, people must meet program income and asset limits. This ensures that help goes to those most in need,” the release said. “To qualify, a household can earn up to 60 percent of the state median income, which for a family of three equals about $39,461 per year. Nearly two-thirds of the participating households include people who are elderly, have disabilities, or include children age five and younger.”
You can apply at your local county social service health office through May 2013. If you’d rather apply on line, download the application here: http://www.nd.gov/eforms/Doc/sfn00529.pdf Once you complete it, return it to your county social services office.
During the last heating season, North Dakota’s LIHEAP program paid an average of $873 in heating energy costs for slightly more than 13,700 state households, the news release said. The program pays fuel vendors, such as utility and fuel oil companies, directly. There’s a conservation component, too. The state Department of Human Services contracts with the North Dakota Commerce Department for weatherization and furnace repair and replacement services. Community action agencies frequently carry out the work, according to the news release.