Elderly, homebound and low-income residents in Bulloch County may be eligible for assistance with energy costs through a program offered through the state Department of Human Services.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program, provided by the Local Community Action Agency, Concerted Services, Inc., may pay qualified recipients up to $350 towards their winter electric, gasoline or other heating costs, said Alex Smith, coordinator of MS services with Bulloch County Concerted Services.
The award is either $310 or $350, depending on household size and income.
The assistance can be applied to only one source of heating; if a bill is less than the amount awarded, it can be used for future bills, but only for that source of heat, he said.
“It depends on how high your bill is at the time the money is deposited on your account. The money can cover multiple months if your bill is low,” he said. “The payment is made directly to the vendor if there is a signed contract between Concerted Services and the vendor. If not, the payment is sent to the client and the client is responsible for making that payment to the vendor.” Receipts for heating sources such as kerosene or wood are required.
“Program income guidelines have been set at 60 percent of the state's median income,” he said. The program began Wednesday.
Only elderly (65 and older) and homebound residents will be served from Nov. 1 until Nov. 30. To qualify as an elderly household, all adult members of the household must be 65 years of age or older. To qualify as a homebound household, all household members must have disabilities confining them to the home, he said.
All other income-eligible residents may call beginning Dec. 1, and will be served if funds are available.
Homebound residents must be unable to travel to an intake center to apply because of a medical condition which qualifies the persons for home services through Medicaid or Medicare, home-delivered meals, home health agency services or homemaker services.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is operated on a first come, first served basis and will end upon depletion of funds.
From Nov. 2016 to May 2017, the program served 1,263 clients. During the same time period the year before, 1,109 clients were served.
Household income guidelines are as follows: one-person household, $22,045 or less; two-person household, $28,829 or less; three-person household, $35,612 or less.
For a four-person household, $42,395 or less; five-person household, $49,178 or less; six-person household, $55,961 or less.
For a seven-person household, $57,233 or less; and eight-person household, $58,505 or less. For households with nine or more persons, add $1,272 for each additional person.
Residents of Bulloch County must call Concerted Services, Inc. Bulloch County Service Center at (912) 489-1604 to schedule an appointment to sign up for assistance. There will be no walk-in appointments, he said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.
Alex Smith, MS Human Services
Bulloch County Coordinator
Concerted Services, Inc.