New England winters are notoriously unpredictable, and the long season can put a strain on moods – and wallets. In addition to high heating bills, families in need must often juggle rent or mortgages, grocery bills, and medical care costs.
Home heating help
There is help available for vulnerable Connecticut residents. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released additional funds to help low-income families stay healthy and warm through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
LIHEAP helps qualified homeowners and renters pay for heating fuel, including:
- natural gas
Last year, Connecticut lawmakers considered a proposal to eliminate LIHEAP heat assistance for residents that use natural gas or electricity. That proposal would have restricted heat assistance funds to only those residents that use delivered fuels such as coal or oil and would have left thousands of vulnerable residents at risk this winter. AARP Connecticut successfully advocated to keep the LIHEAP program open for vulnerable residents, regardless of which fuel type they use to heat their homes.
Who is eligible?
Households with gross incomes ranging between $21,780 for a single person to $86,450 for a family of 10 (at or below 200% of the federal poverty level) may be eligible for LIHEAP.
Homeowners and renters may apply. Households eligible for the winter heating program may also qualify to receive weatherization assistance to help conserve energy and lower heating bills.
Additional assistance is available
In addition to providing help with home heating fuel costs, LIHEAP also offers additional resources, including:
- a free weatherization kit
- assistance with heating system repairs
- utility discounts
Learn more about LIHEAP
LIHEAP operates in Connecticut between November 15 and April 30, and is coordinated by regional Community Action Agencies, in cooperation with municipal and other non-profit human service agencies.
Visit the LIHEAP website for further details and application information.
Energy saving tips
Check out these easy, inexpensive ways to save energy and lower your heating bill:
- Keep beds, carpets, couches and dressers away from heating or cooling vents.
- Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water – you can save over $50 a year.
- Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load.
- Turn down the thermostats when you are asleep or gone during the day.
- Lower your hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
- Seal off fireplaces when not in use to prevent heat loss.