Vermont

$20 million in heating aid released today in Vermont | Community-news

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott and the Department of Children and Families on Thursday afternoon announced the release of $20 million in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for eligible homes using heating oil, propane, kerosene, coal, electricity and heating natural gas.

“We know many are feeling the burden of high inflation affecting the entire country, and the rise in home heating bills is a significant challenge,” Scott said in a statement. “LIHEAP is an important effort helping families at risk, and I thank our congressional delegation, particularly Senator Leahy, for his work in securing additional LIHEAP funds this year. At Montpelier, we must work tirelessly to keep costs down for Vermont families.”

The benefit was sent directly to fuel distributors on behalf of 14,741 households, averaging $1,375 per household. At the beginning of this year, 2,134 households that heat with wood and pellets received funding. This funding helps keep thousands of Vermonters warm during the winter months.

To date, amid volatile fuel prices, the state has seen a 7 percent increase in the number of households applying for a seasonal fuel credit this year. This year, fuel prices are expected to average about $4.81 per gallon, compared to $2.57 per gallon in fiscal 2019. To mitigate the impact, $5.8 million will be added to the $20 million of government dollars used by LIHEAP and other programs to keep benefits similar to previous years.

Households are encouraged to visit the agency’s website or contact the Benefit Service Center at 800-479-6151 to submit an application.

“We know that Vermont residents are concerned about the winter because of the rise in fuel prices coupled with inflation elsewhere,” said State and Federal Commissioner Harry Chen Jahr, despite the rise in fuel costs to help ensure that benefits remain similar to previous years. I encourage any Vermonter who believes they are entitled to the benefit to call our phone line.”

Households could be eligible for seasonal fuel assistance if their gross household income is equal to or less than 185 percent of the federal poverty line. For example, a family of four with a gross monthly income of up to $4,279 may be eligible for the benefit.

Households may be eligible for Crisis Fuel Assistance if their gross household income is 200 percent or less of the federal poverty line during a crisis. A family of four with a gross monthly income of up to $4,626 could be eligible for the benefit.

Learn more at dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/fuel and dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/crisis-fuel.

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