CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Low income families can apply for energy assistance through a Department of Health and Human Resources program.The department's Bureau for Children and Families announced last week it would begin accepting applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, beginning today. Households must meet all requirements to qualify for the program and be in an emergency situation where the primary heating source will be disrupted if the need is not met.The goal of the program is to help low-income families pay their energy bills."This has been a very cold winter and many West Virginia families are struggling to keep up with high heating costs," said Karen Bowling, cabinet secretary of DHHR. "This energy assistance will help residents facing a loss of utilities due to inability to pay."
Residents who depend on gas or electricity as their primary heating source must provide a cut-off notice from the utility company when applying for emergency LIHEAP funds. Those using other primary heating sources or bulk fuel may qualify for assistance if their energy source is running low at the time of application.Families receiving direct payment of non-emergency LIHEAP benefits must verify the payment was used for home heating and submit a current receipt with the emergency LIHEAP application. If the proper documents aren't submitted, the application will be denied.Emergency LIHEAP will continue until funds are exhausted. To apply, residents should go to their local DHHR office. A list of those offices can be found at www.wvdhhr.org/bfc/county/ or by calling 304-356-4619.Contact writer Whitney Burdette at 304-348-7939 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.Twitter.com/wburdette_DM.