Relief available for seniors with low incomes, high energy bills
The hottest months of the year are almost behind us, but the electric bills that follow can be devastating for seniors with limited incomes. Fortunately, older adults with a home energy emergency may be eligible for the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program, or EHEAP.
EHEAP assists low-income households with at least one person age 60 or over. The program is available for those facing a delinquent power bill, lack of fuel, or an electric shut-off notice. Eligible households may be provided one benefit per season: The cooling season runs April-September, and the heating season runs October-March. Payments are made directly to the vendor or by a two-party check to the vendor and client for electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, kerosene, or wood. In the cooling season, program beneficiaries may also receive vouchers to purchase fans.
To be eligible, households must have a documented cooling or heating emergency, at least one individual age 60 or older in the home, and a gross household annual income equal or less than 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Currently, those limits are $19,210 annually for a single householder or $24,690 for a two-person household.
EHEAP funds are administered by the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida and Florida Department of Elder Affairs. EHEAP is managed by AAASWFL’s designated lead agencies in each county. The Lee County lead agency is Friendship Centers. To apply for EHEAP funds, applicants should contact the lead agency or the AAASWFL Elder Helpline at 866-413-ELDER (5337).
In addition to EHEAP, AAASWFL can guide low-income seniors to other assistance programs.
For more information, visit www.aaaswfl.org or call 866-413-ELDER (5337).