The North Carolina Division of Social Services has evaluated and updated the application process and eligibility requirements for the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) in accordance with changes mandated by the General Assembly.
If your household is low income and you will need assistance with this winter’s heating costs, you will need to be aware of these changes to the application process and the eligibility requirements for the LIEAP benefit.
In the past, applications were taken in November and payments were sent directly to program recipients in February. Households participating in the Food and Nutrition Services Program (formerly called Food Stamps) were automatically approved. That is no longer the case. Under the program changes, all households must meet income and resource eligibility requirements and must apply for LIEAP funds; there are no longer automatic approvals.
In addition, at the direction of the General Assembly, energy payments will now be made directly to the service provider, such as power, gas or oil companies during the month of the application.
Applications for persons age 60 and older or disabled persons (receives SSI, SSA, or VA disability) who are receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) will be taken from Dec. 1, 2011 through Jan. 31, 2012 or until funds are exhausted.
All members of the household must be 60 years of age or older, or at least one household member must be disabled and receiving services through the DAAS.
If funds remain available after Jan. 31, 2012, any other eligible households may apply during February through the end of March.
“We have already been swamped with calls,” said Betty Jo Oliver of the Food and Nutrition Services Program. “Last year, we had so many people that were automatically eligible that we only took applications for two weeks. We had 527 applications.”
To apply or gather more information, visit the Division of Social Services at 125 S. Caroline St. in Rockingham.
For more information, call Oliver at (910) 997-8480.