With the leaves changing and falling rapidly from the trees and the weather getting colder, I want to encourage people to check their eligibility for heating assistance. So far, community action organizations – including York County Community Action Corp. (YCCAC) – received over 18,000 applications for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). I know the average price of fuel oil remains above $4 a gallon, which is why people should ask for help if they need it. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Costs are high and funds are available to help people. HEAP helps cover the cost of propane, natural gas, wood pellets and any other fuel used as a primary heating source. At current federal funding levels, HEAP will help cover the cost of about half a tank of oil, but Maine officials have requested additional funding from Washington.
To apply for HEAP, people should call YCCAC at (207) 459-2950. You can own, rent or live in subsidized housing and still qualify for HEAP. Income eligibility is calculated at 150% of the federal poverty level or 60% of state median income. For a family of four, this represents an annual family income of $59,348 or less. YCCAC social workers will help you verify your eligibility. They can also check if you qualify for a 12-month medical expense deduction. Once you connect with an energy specialist, the application will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. You can complete the application over the phone; Internet is not necessary. However, online applications will be available through an invoice from my colleague Senator Chip Curry. You will need documents showing your social security number, utility bill, and income. Applications take two weeks to process and then the YCCAC will send a benefit letter to successful applicants. You can then contact the fuel delivery company and request a fuel delivery. Benefit money goes directly to the fuel delivery company.
It is important to get an application on file, as the YCCAC can also check if you are eligible for other assistance programs, such as the Electricity Lifeline Program, Arrears Management Program, and Emergency Response Program. energy crisis. All of these programs can help people get through the winter and use their money for food, shelter and other essentials.
MaineHousing also recently announced the Water Assistance Program, which will help settle overdue balances or establish a one-time benefit that can be applied to a current or future water or sewage bill. In either case, payment will be made directly to the utility provider on behalf of an eligible claimant. People can find the application online. Completed applications, along with water bills, proof of income and citizenship documents, should be mailed to MaineHousing, Energy and Housing Services, 26 Edison Drive, Augusta, ME 04330. For details , please visit https://www.mainehousing.org/programs-services/energy/energydetails/mwap.
Finally, if you haven’t filed your 2021 Maine state income tax return, you still have until October 31 to file and receive your check for $850, if you’re eligible. If you need help filing your taxes, please contact Pam White at YCCAC. Pam can be reached at [email protected] or (207) 800-3541.
As always, you can contact me at [email protected] or my legislative office at (207) 287-1515. I will do my best to connect you with resources that could help you and your family.
Obituary – Carol Hughes Palmer
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