The Richmond County Department of Social Services will accept applications for its low-income energy assistance program on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 1 to Nov. 12.
In addition to the low income energy assistance program, which offers a one-time payment in February, a crisis intervention plan will also be available to qualified households facing service disconnection throughout the winter.
DSS Income Maintenance Administrator Barrett Hollimon reminded potential applicants there are two weeks to apply for the low income energy assistance program.
In previous years, applicants camped outside DSS offices across the state to be first in line for the limited funding.
“These funds aren’t distributed on a first-come, first-served basis,” Hollimon said. “You have two weeks to apply - the first two weeks of November. DSS will review all applications to ensure the maximum number of qualified households are reached with this assistance.”
He said the agency will hire two seasonal workers to help with the expected influx of applications.
DSS Director Tammy Schrenker explained the amount of money allotted for low income energy assistance from the state will depend on several different factors.
“It depends on how many people apply in this county and how many people apply across the state,” she explained.
She said the typical allotment per household is a one-time payment of around $50 to $75.
Hollimon continued to explain households receiving food and nutrition assistance through Sept. 30 automatically qualify for this assistance, unless they were notified by the state that they don’t. These households may re-apply during the application period, however.
“Households that don’t receive food and nutrition assistance are also encouraged to apply, but they must meet income eligibility criteria,” Hollimon said.
These households must be responsible for their heating bills, cannot have resources that exceed $2,200 and must also have a U.S. citizen or eligible alien living there.
When applying for this program, individuals should bring information pertaining to household income, such as pay stubs for the month of October; the household’s savings and checking accounts; household property, stocks, bonds and other assets; and the name, date of birth and social security numbers of each household member.
The crisis intervention program operates differently than the low income energy assistance program, Hollimon explained.
This program helps households facing disconnection of heating- or cooling-related services, and is an on-going application process, so there is no deadline to apply.
However, in order to qualify for crisis intervention, an applicant must be certified as eligible for the low income energy assistance program as well.
“These households also must have a member who is either disabled or 65 years or older,” Hollimon explained.
These funds are also only distributed to households with a member who is a U.S. citizens or eligible alien.
For more information, contact DSS at (910) 997-8481.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.