Aug 20, 2010

Alzheimer's Caregiver Help -- New Jersey Home Energy Assistance Program

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

All states have home energy assistance programs. The state of New Jersey is a good example. Unlike many assistance program websites, this New Jersey program lists the income requirements clearly on the opening page of the website -- the home page of the website. This takes "guess work" out of the equation.

I wish all assistance programs would follow the lead of the New Jersey Energy Assistance Program and make it simple to determine eligibility. Put the requirements upfront and make them easy to understandd.

The first program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. Here is what you will see right on the first page.

To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, the applicant household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in the rent; and have gross income at or below 225% of the federal poverty level.

The amount of the LIHEAP heating benefit is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and heating region. This year, the medically necessary cooling assistance benefit is set at $200.

Easy. The income thresholds are clear and easy to understand.

New Jersey has a second program -- the Universal Service Fund Program (USF). USF is a program created by the State of New Jersey to help make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households.

Here is a great feature. You only need to apply one time and you are automatically applying for both services. No need to fill out two separate applications.

To be eligible, a household gross income must be at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Level, (refer to income guidelines listed below), and pay more than 3% of its annual income for electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible.

Here are the income requirements for the Universal Service Fund Program.

Here in Delray Beach, Dorothy pays more than the 6% threshold for electricity. Dorothy is not eligible for energy assistance in the State of Florida. They do have a program where you can save a few bucks if you are willing to risk "frying" for a couple of hours a day.

Perhaps you are familiar with a similar programs in your state. If energy assistance is available please let us know in the comments box below this article. Feel free to alert us to other programs that you believe merit our attention.

Here is the link to the New Jersey Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Here is the link to The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) (national webpage).

You'll notice that the Federal website is not as easy to read or navigate as the New Jersey page.

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,690 articles with more than 70,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.


Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room