Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Government Assistance Paying Utility Bills

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What About Natural Gas Service

Qualifying for utility bill assistance

Some natural gas providers have voluntarily halted natural gas shutoffs due to COVID-19.

Companies halting gas shutoffs:

  • Atmos – Until further notice
  • Centerpoint – Has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
  • Corix – Until further notice, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
  • Coserv – Coserv has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how may get help with your gas bill.
  • Texas Gas Service – Has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
  • Texas-Kansas-Oklahoma Gas – Until further notice

The above list may be incomplete or out of date. Whether listed here or not, contact your gas provider to ask about programs to keep your gas connected.

Note that you will still owe money for unpaid gas bills. Participating companies have said only that they will temporarily halt shutoffs for nonpayment.

How To Qualify For Energy Assistance

Eligibility for the LIHEAP program varies by state, but generally it starts at the $19,200 income level for a one-person household .

You would be automatically eligible if you meet one of these criteria:

  • Youre a low-income family that meets the financial requirements. The government provides an online calculator to determine if you qualify.
  • If you participate in other federal benefit programs, including SNAP , SSI , TANF .
  • You meet certain needs-tested veteran benefits.

LIHEAP applications are guided by states, and each state has different rules for when and how to apply, and the criteria need to get help. A list of state and tribal LIHEAP offices is available here.

Paying Debts Help Emergency Financial Assistance

free government grants to pay off debt Student loan debt, credit card debt, medical bills, and other debt can get overwhelming. Because you lost your earnings Many times, a crisis occurs. There are if you are having difficulty making your monthly payments. This could happen because you have lost your job or had your work hours cut. Beware of scammers who request money to attempt and resolve your debt use only reputable businesses.

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Items You Need To Apply

To apply for LIHEAP, you need the following documents:

  • State Drivers License or Identification Card
  • Proof of permanent residence, such as a lease, deed or property tax bill
  • Social Security cards or numbers, birth certificates or school records for any household members who are LIHEAP-eligible and being included on the application
  • Income verification of all household members 18 years of age and older for the last 30 days
  • Copies of all current utility bills.
  • Utility Termination Notice
  • Statement showing utility allowance if you are living in subsidized housing, such as Section 8.
  • Tennessee Programs To Provide Assistance With Utility Bills

    What to Do When You Cant Pay Your Utility Bill

    Low income or struggling families in Tennessee can get help with paying their utility bills. There are governmenbt grants for the poor and low income, payment plans for electric or heating bills, free energy conservation programs and other forms of assistance available. Find options below.

    Each utility company or charity has their own application process and of course funds are limited. For those that qualify though there will be emergency funds to help them pay air conditioning , winter heating, or utility bills year round. Conservation measures are generally included too.

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    Houston Light Companies With No Deposit

    The last option I want to share with you is 2 companies that offer no deposit electricity plans in Houston.

    These plans are good options for low-income families who are unable to afford a deposit or if you have poor credit because they do not run credit checks.

    The way these plans work is you upload funds to your account. Those funds will then go toward the use of utilities. Once you exhaust these funds you will then need to add more money to keep your lights on.

    While these are some of the cheapest light companies in Houston, these plans are not for everyone, because there are pros and cons to consider.

    What Help Is Available For My Home Energy Bill

    The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program may be able to help with:

    • Assistance to pay your heating or cooling bills
    • Emergency services in cases of energy crisis, such as utility shutoffs
    • Low-cost home improvements, known as weatherization, that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.

    LIHEAP funds may not be used to pay water and sewer bills.

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    Telephone And Internet Service Assistance Programs

    Telephone and broadband internet assistance programs are available for consumers with limited incomes. Programs can help you keep service connected, reduce monthly bills, help pay connection fees and avoid shutoffs. Eligibility is determined based on your income or participation in other assistance programs. Each company and program has different benefits and restrictions. Some programs have restrictions on the optional services available to participants. Contact your telephone or internet company to see if you qualify for their assistance program.

    The Lifeline Program is a government program that helps low-income consumers with a discount on monthly service for:

    • Voice
    • Broadband internet access service
    • Combination of telephone and internet service

    Lifeline works with both landline and wireless providers. The programs give consumers the opportunities and security that phone and internet service provides, such as connecting to jobs, family, health care, schools, and 911 emergency services.

    You may qualify for Lifeline Assistance based on income or if you participate in any of the following programs:

    • Medicaid
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
    • Supplemental Security Income
    • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance

    Stay Connected with Lifeline – A brochure explaining telephone assistance programs.

    Lifeline Across America Website – This FCC website provides information and resources about federal and state Lifeline programs.

    Talk To Your Utility Company

    NES offers assistance to help customers pay electric bill

    Many utility companies have enacted their own moratoriums on shutoffs in response to COVID-19, and many already have programs that provide assistance to low-income customers.

    Check what your utility company has to offer, as they may be able to offer relief, says Jim Chilsen, managing communications director and spokesperson for Citizens Utility Board, a consumer advocacy group representing utility customers across Illinois.

    In Illinois, for example, state officials, consumer advocates, and major utility companies such as Peoples Gas and ComEd came to an agreement that allowed families to get the financial assistance they needed with their energy bills no questions asked.

    You must call these utilities and let them know youre experiencing financial hardship, and then you can connect to see these consumer protections. All you need to say, Im struggling to pay my bills. No documented proof of hardship is required . You can connect to the moratorium on disconnection, you can sign up for consumer-friendly payment programs, and also deposits will be waived, Chilsen says.

    Keep in mind, though, that not all utilities will recognize your financial situation. Wolfe says that municipal utilities and co-ops are often not covered by moratoriums and have been more aggressive in collections during the pandemic. However, its still worth getting on the phone and asking them what assistance theyre able to offer.

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    Low Income Assistance Programs

    Discounts are available for customers receiving Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid for Low Income Families . The discount includes $14.50 toward the customer charge and exemption from paying certain state utility license tax fees. Eligible customers can sign up at an Alabama Power business office.

    Information On Utility Bill Assistance Programs

    Most states as well as the companies that operate in them offer numerous programs to provide utility bill assistance to their customers. Many utility companies will offer some form of financial aid, there are various charities for those in need, tax breaks, and there are also programs that will provide free energy efficient products and upgrades. Or energy providers offer payment plans, financial help from Round up type programs, deposit assistance and more. This is all offered in an effort to help consumers save on or pay their utility bills, including heating, gas, electric, and light.

    Select your state below to find ways to obtain assistance with your utility bill. Each company offers their own solutions so you can find additional ways to save electricity.

    Often other forms of assistance are needed as well. For example, if you need housing, food, mortgage or credit card help, many of the energy companies match people who are behind or struggling with their bills to service providers who can help them. There are resources for employment, debts, energy conservation measures, and more. All of this will be combined with one time utility bill assistance.

    It is free to request information for utility assistance. There are also no costs or fee to apply. There is no obligation beyond requesting info. All of the energy companies are will to work with customers to find some form of solution. It is always critical to apply early though, before disconnection occurs.

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    # National Foundation For Credit Counseling

    The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the countrys biggest & longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The organization offers counsel on all sorts of debt such as credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and more. Launched in 1951, The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is based on a community of Certified consumer credit counselors, so some may charge fees for some services.

    Arizona Low Income Government Energy Bill Assistance Programs

    LIHEAP Program Helps Low Income Families Pay Their Utility ...

    Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP is a federal sponsored assistance program that will provide a one time payment for a delinquent utility bill. The Utility Repair, Replacement and Deposit Program and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program provide energy and utility bill assistance to eligible individuals. .

    Free weatherization services in ArizonaThis is often offered in Arizona in combination with LIHEAP above. The federal government pays for such home improvements as insulation, weather stripping, AC unit repairs and more. Everything is meant to help households save money on future utility bills, and the total amount invested in the home may be a few thousands dollars.

    There is a state moratorium in place as well that stop a disconnection of utilities from June to October. The Arizona law will stop an energy or gas company from shutting off power. It is a government regulation, and learn more on the Arizona utility disconnection moratorium.

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    # Home Affordable Refinance Program

    The Home Affordable Refinance Program is a National program that Helps homeowners who have no or little equity in their homes to Restructure payments. A Home Affordable Refinance will help borrowers refinance their mortgage if the balance is more than 100 percent of their housing value. The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, is a program offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to homeowners who have homes that are worth less than the outstanding balance on the loan. Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are unable to refinance to take advantage of the lower mortgage rates to a reduction in their homes value. The program is available. The program has provided millions of homeowners with assistance Who struggled to pay their mortgages throughout the home crisis.

    How Do I Keep My Water And Electricity Connected

    Contact Your Provider: If you cannot pay your electricity contact your utility provider. While most providers have resumed shutoffs, many will work with you to set up a payment plan or find assistance. The sooner you contact your provider, the better.

    Many cities and utility providers have also created programs to help with utility bills.

    Go to Help for Texans to search for other local programs that can give emergency utility assistance. Select “Utility Bill Payment Help” and enter your city or county at the bottom of the page.

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    Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

    LIHEAP helps low-income households that pay a high proportion of their income for home energy.

    The American Rescue Plan, passed in March of 2201, doubled LIHEAP funding. According to numbers provided by the White House, the recent average annual funding for LIHEAP has been between $3 billion and $4 billion. The funding typically serves five million households. The American Rescue Plan provided an additional $4.5 billion that is available until September 2022.

    LIHEAP can help pay heating or cooling bills , and help pay for low-cost home improvements such as weatherization to lower utility bills. It also can pay for emergency services in a time of crisis, including during utility shutoffs. On average, about 20% of U.S. households that are qualified for LIHEAP receive benefits.

    Do You Fit Income Requirements

    There is money available to help pay your utility bills. Here is how you can apply

    You may be eligible for help paying your energy bill based on your household income. Household income eligibility is calculated by adding together all income sources, including wages or salaries, Social Security, pensions, unemployment benefits, child or spousal support, workers comp payments, disability, scholarships, legal settlements and other sources not listed.

    Effective June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022
    Number of Persons in HouseholdTotal Combined Annual Income CARETotal Combined Annual Income FERA

    1 to 2

    Effective June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022

    Number of Persons in Household

    1 to 2

    Total Combined Annual Income CARE

    Up to $34,840

    Total Combined Annual Income FERA

    Not Eligible

    Number of Persons in Household
    Total Combined Annual Income CARE

    Up to $43,920

    Total Combined Annual Income FERA

    $43,921 – $54,900

    Number of Persons in Household
    Total Combined Annual Income CARE

    Up to $53,000

    Total Combined Annual Income FERA

    Up to $62,080

    $62,081 – $77,600

    Up to $71,160

    $71,161 – $88,950

    Up to $80,240

    $80,241 – $100,300

    Up to $89,320

    $89,321 – $111,650

    Each additional person

    $9,080

    $9,080 – $11,350

    *Lower Limit Calculation = 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines +$1

    **Upper Limit Calculation = 250% of Federal Poverty Guidelines

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    # The Sunshine Lady Foundation

    Buffet donates stocks from his Berkshire Hathaway that is conglomerate to finance the programs. The assignment of the Sunshine Lady Foundation would be to invest in programs and organizations dedicated to providing opportunities for the advancement of education. A charitable organization that provides grants is run by the sister of warren Buffet. The Sunshine Lady Foundation assesses requests from individuals who are seeking help and gives grants to those it deems worthy. The Sunshine Lady Foundation has fielded over 22000 pleas for support. the average grant is $4,800.

    Charities And Utility Bill Help From Companies

    APS Energy Support Program If you are a lower income state resident and utility customer, you may be eligible to receive a substantial discount on your electric bill through the Medical Care Equipment Program or the APS Energy Support Program. These programs offer a discount up to 40% off the cost of electricity for Arizona customers who meet certain income threshholds and guidelines.

    APS Energy Wise Low Income Weatherization ProgramThe Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program is tasked with the mission of lowering the electricity or the fuel expense for space cooling, heating, and water heating for qualified, income-eligible households, while also improving the safety and health of the dwelling’s occupants. Examples of services provided to lower utility bills include : Shading sun-exposed windows, Adding high quality thermal insulation to the residential building exterior – most often attic insulation, primarily for houses using central refrigeration cooling. Implementing air leak control measures that will help lower excessive infiltration of outside air. And many other examples.

    Arizona Public Service offers the Energy-Wise help program, which will assist by providing weatherization repairs, energy saving techniques, and/or improvements to families in need. They also offer the Project S.H.A.R.E. assistance program. This program helps pay utility bills for seniors over 60 on a limited income or people under 60 with a financial emergency. More information.

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    How To Apply For The Direct Energy Neighbor To Neighbor Program

    To apply for this program you will need to contact a Direct Energy partner. These partners will screen you for eligibility.

    • Harris County Community Services 9418 Jensen Drive, Houston, TX 77093 713.696.7900 Covers Harris County
    • Baker Ripley 3838 Aberdeen Way Houston, TX 77025 713.667.9400 , 713.590.2327 , utilityassistance@bakerripley.org- Covers Harris County
    • Galveston County Community Action Council 4700 Broadway, Suite C109, Galveston, TX 77552 409.765.7878 Covers Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Wharton Counties

    Those outside of the Houston/Galveston can find help by visiting the Direct Energy Neighbor-to-Neighbor Payment Agencies page.

    For more information regarding utility assistance in Houston you can also contact Direct Energy at 877.541.9847.

    Help In Paying Healthcare And Medicare Bills

    Nonprofits Struggle To Address Increased Demand For Help ...

    Medical costs can pose a threat. An assortment of government and nonprofit programs can help provide medical insurance and affordable medical care to people who want it. Medical bills account for almost 3 times as much debt in this nation as credit cards. Youll be able to plan for just about everything else, but injury and illness can strike out of nowhere, bringing tremendous bills in their wake.

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    Concerned About Your Telecommunications Or Broadband Service Because Of Covid

    Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

    Congress appropriated $3.2 billion in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to the Federal Communications Commission to help low-income households pay for broadband service and connected internet devices. On February 25, 2021, the FCC adopted Report and Order 21-29, officially establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program .

    The EBB Program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible consumers. Consumers who live on qualifying Tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $75 per month toward broadband services.

    Additionally, the program provides a one-time device discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider. The one-time discount requires a consumer co-payment of more than $10 and less than $50.

    The Emergency Broadband Benefit is temporary. It will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the Federal Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.

    For more information regarding the EBB Program and Eligibility, go to the following links:

    Wi-Fi Hotspot Map

    Lifeline

    Telephone or Cable/IPTV Television Complaint Assistance

    COVID-19 Information

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