Heating assistance available during winter months - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Heating assistance available during winter months

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MADISON (WKOW) -- As temperatures continue to fall, state officials want to remind residents that heating assistance is available to help keep families warm during the cold winter months.

The Home Energy Plus Program gives heating assistance for eligible applicants from now until May 15, 2013. The state estimates that 220,000 households will receive heating assistance this season.

The federally funded program pays benefits directly to fuel suppliers, which is designed to offset the cost of home heating.

Eligibility is based upon household income, household size and home heating costs. Those factors are used to determine the amount of benefits an individual or family can receive between October 1 through May 15. Crisis assistance may be available year round based on household need and available funding.

State officials estimate the average heating benefit this year to be $240. That's down from the $348 average benefit during last year's heating season for 221,785 households.   

Residents can apply for heating assistance through county social service offices, tribal governments and private non-profit agencies. Call toll-free at 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947) or visit the Home Energy Plus website for the local agency in your area. Residents may be eligible if the gross household income is 60% of the state median income level or less.  
 
In addition to heating assistance, the Home Energy Plus program offers: emergency fuel assistance, counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets, proactive co-payment plans, targeted outreach services, and emergency furnace repair and replacement.
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