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A Helping Hand With Heating Bills

Take a deep breath if you’re dreading this winter’s heating bills

Here’s what you’ll need to fill out the application:

  • The names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, ages and student status of every person living in your household.


  • Proof of all income of every person in your household, such as check stubs, bank records and income tax returns.


  • A detailed description of your home or apartment, possibly including the number, size and type of rooms.


  • Copies of utility bills to document heating costs. Include copies of bills back to Oct. 1, because in some cases you can be reimbursed for them. If you pay rent, and it includes heating costs, provide records.


  • Documentation of expenses that your state may allow you to deduct from your income, such as medical insurance premiums, dental or vision care bills, nursing home costs, and prescription drug costs. Proof can include receipts or canceled checks.


The completed application can take 45 days to process. If you face an emergency, such as having your utility service disconnected, the application itself may explain what to do for immediate help. If not, call the public inquiry number on your state’s LIHEAP website or immediately contact your utility to discuss the situation.

If you are approved for assistance, you’ll be contacted by a state or local agency. Don’t expect to receive funds directly. Except for reimbursement of bills you’ve already paid, the dollars will go directly to your utility to help pay your heating bills.

Bridget Mintz Testa is a Houston-based writer who covers workforce issues and technology.

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