Additional Federal Funding Will Allow More NH Families to Receive Aid
CONCORD – Increased federal funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), will allow the state to help families and seniors currently on the waiting list pay their home heating bills this winter.
Initial federal funding cuts forced the state to limit immediate eligibility to families and seniors making less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level. The increased funding will allow the program to cover people up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level – although there is still the potential for a waiting list later in the season.
We are pleased that the importance of this program was recognized and additional funding was authorized. These continue to be challenging times for many families due to the unstable economy, coupled with high fuel oil prices, and the additional funding was very much needed,” said Joanne Morin, director of the state Office of Energy and Planning. “This increased federal funding will allow us to help thousands more New Hampshire families and seniors stay warm this winter.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initially allotted $14.7 million in LIHEAP funding for New Hampshire. Recent congressional action increased the funding to approximately $26 million, which is still about $9 million less than $34 million New Hampshire received last year.
“We must remember that even though funding was increased over our initial allotment, New Hampshire is still receiving less LIHEAP aid than last year at a time when demand is increasing,” said Joanne Morin, director of the state Office of Energy and Planning.
The Office of Energy and Planning will monitor the program to ensure monies are available for emergencies as required by law, and may be forced to again start a waiting list later in the season to ensure that adequate resources remain to address emergencies.
If you have any questions about your benefits or wish to see if you are eligible for heating assistance, please call your local community action agency.