LIHEAP Energy Assistance Program for seniors and disabled begins Sept. 1

Staff Report

The City of Rockford Human Services Department, along with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Energy Assistance, announces that seniors and people with disabilities can begin applying for winter heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Sept. 1.

LIHEAP is a state- and federally-funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households.

A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,361; a two-person household up to $1,839; and a family of four can earn up to $2,794. Benefits are paid directly to utilities on behalf of eligible households. The exception is households whose heating costs are included in their rent.

For the first time, some LIHEAP clients will have the option of choosing between the traditional Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) plan or the new Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). The PIPP is available to eligible LIHEAP clients who are customers of ComEd and Nicor Gas. Under PIPP, the eligible client will pay a percentage of their income, receive a monthly benefit towards their utility bill, and receive a reduction in overdue payments for every on-time payment they make by the bill due date. The traditional DVP plan is a one-time payment.

Clients must bring all required documentation when applying to assistance including:

• State photo ID, i.e., driver’s license or Illinois state ID

• Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day period prior to the application date

• A copy of current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly)

• A copy of a rental agreement, lease or rent receipt (if they are renting)

• Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members

• Proof that their household received TANF or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or SNAP, if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Households with children under the age of 5 and disconnected households can begin applying for assistance beginning Oct. 1. Individuals not eligible for priority enrollment can apply beginning Nov. 1. The list of sites participating in the October and November sign-ups will be released at a later date. Clients will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted.

The sites listed below will be serving as intake sites for seniors and disabled, and will begin taking phone calls for appointments beginning Sept. 1. Please note that the City of Rockford Human Services Department will not be taking calls for appointments.

2011 LIHEAP sites for Seniors and Disabled

Lifescape Community Services, 705 Kilburn Ave., Rockford; (815) 963-1609. Disabled that are head of household and Seniors. English and Spanish available.

Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging (NIAAA), 1111 S. Alpine Road, Suite 600, Rockford; (815) 226-4901. Seniors only. English and Spanish available.

Rep. Chuck Jefferson’s Office, 200 S. Wyman St., Rockford; (815) 987-7433. Seniors and Disabled. English only.

Rockton Township, 1315 N. Blackhawk Blvd., Rockton; (815) 389-0914, (815) 624-7788. Seniors and Disabled. English Only. Roscoe, Rockton, South Beloit residents only.

Boone County Council on Aging, 2141 Henry Luckow Lane, Belvidere; (815) 544-9893. Seniors only. English and Spanish available. Boone County residents only.

United Way of Boone County, 220 W. Locust St., Belvidere; (815) 544-3144. Disabled. English only. Boone County residents only.

ALERTA, 130 N. State St., Belvidere; (815) 547-3800. Disabled. English and Spanish available. Boone County residents only.

From the Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2011, issue

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