Top Utility Assistance Programs – Help With Utility Bills
Below are the top 3 national utility programs which assists Americans having issues with electricity, gas, water and phone bills. In addition to the below there are a range of other assistance programs provide by State governments, non-profits, charities and the energy providers themselves.
One of the quickest ways to address financial issues with utility payments is to contact the providers first. They often have in house programs to help those who are finding it difficult in meeting their repayment commitments.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
LIHEAP is an essential tool for any families or households that are suffering from financial hardships. This program focuses on providing financial aid that can be used for subsidizing utilities and weatherproofing repairs that the family can’t afford.
The federal government assists low income families with their energy bills, and any home repairs that are energy related. This can include things like insulation, cooling systems, and other weatherization efforts during the summer and winter.
Eligibility requirements for LIHEAP assistance vary in each state so if you feel that you are in need of utility assistance, you can check your eligibility status. To find out if you qualify for government assistance, contact a LIHEAP office near you.
Weatherization Assistance Program
In 1976, the Department of Energy initiated the WAP (Weatherization Assistance Program) which is a federal grant that is used to help needy families. More specifically, the WAP focuses offering financial support to low income families in several states, territories, and Native American tribes to help improve their home’s energy efficiency. Since its inception, over 7 million families have received government grants from the DOE.
Each state will have its own regulations regarding eligibility for WAP, however all states evaluate your income and eligibility based on the DOE guidelines. According to the DOE, anyone over 60 is automatically eligible. If your household is home to more to one or more persons suffering from a legally recognized disability, your eligibility is guaranteed. In addition to this, most states will automatically approve families with children. To find out if you qualify and if the grants are available in your area, you should check the WAPTAC (Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center) website.
LifeLine (Phone Assistance)
With as dependent on technology as the business world and daily life has become, it is almost impossible to live without a phone. A free government cell phone program is carried out by LifeLine Assistance (LLA). They offer assistance in this regard for Americans who are in need of a phone plan but don’t have the financial means to get one.
LLA is a government funded and FCC mandated assistance program that offers people who are suffering from financial hardships, a free cell phone that carries a minimum of 250 minutes monthly to a maximum of unlimited calls and text messages.
If you feel that you are unable to afford a cell phone or a contract with a large company, join the millions of American’s who have benefited from the LLA. Most states will have varying rules regarding your eligibility; however, they normally revolve around income. Majority of the states require that your income be below 135% of all Federal Poverty guidelines while a few require a household income of fewer than 150%. As long as you live within one of the 49 states, Puerto Rico, or Washington DC. Learn more about getting a heavily discounted or free cell phone here.