Utility Bill Assistance

 

Assistance in Georgia from LIHEAP

The Georgia LIHEAP program can offer checks and grants to utility companies on behalf of qualified customers. Funds are usually prioritized for seniors, the elderly, and disabled across Georgia. The federal government as well as state of Georgia establish the various income and application guidelines that need to be met by applicants in order to receive utility bill assistance from this resource.

Eligibility for the program will depend on the applicant’s household size as well as their projected total gross annual household income. The exact amount of cash assistance or grants that will be paid out to either homeowners or non-subsidized renters can be as much as $350. However it will range either $310 or $350 while funds are available.

One of the main benefits of the program that many people are not aware of is the fact that renters can also benefit from LIHEAP. However, so called subsidized housing tenants and renters whose fuel cost is included in their monthly housing or rental payment are ineligible to receive utility bill assistance. The reason being is that these Georgia households are considered to be the least vulnerable and are not often at risk of a shot off of their electricity.

The various energy bill assistance programs are typically provided through non-profits that operate across Georgia, and it is usually your local community action agency. To apply for assistance for paying your utilities, please contact the Georgia Department of Human Services at 1-800-869-1150 or dial your local community action agency. Other places that may have information on the low income energy bill assistance program include the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities.

As with any federal or state of Georgia assistance program, funding is limited. After the application process starts, if funds and grants are not available when you inquire for help, then be sure to ask to be placed on a waiting list for financial support. You need to do this up front when you first apply, as waiting lists are not allowed before the utility program opens and also the list can fill up quickly.

Georgia LIHEAP Eligibility Requirements

A total of three requirements need to be met in order to receive financial assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. They include the following:

  • The applicant needs to be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted aliens.
  • Their total household income needs to be at or below 60% of the State's Median Income(SMI).
  • The household needs to have full responsibility for paying the cost of energy bill for the primary home heating or cooling source.

The application period will normally begin the first work day of November, however it is only open for the homebound, the elderly (age 65 & over), and those with life-threatening circumstances. The Winter LIHEAP program opens in Georgia first work day in December, and this includes the general public. Energy Bill Assistance Program applicants are served in a first-come, first-serve basis by each agency, for energy programs in their service counties. So apply early before funding runs out.

It is always a good idea to contact the local community action agency to ask what procedures are in your county, as many of the non-profit agencies will make appointments with potential applicants over the phone to apply for government benefits rather than require applicants to visit the agency and complete an application on site.

As indicated, the best thing to do for additional information on the agency serving LIHEAP in your county is to call a community action agency or the Georgia Department of Human Services. Staff on site can advise to this and other financial assistance programs.