COOKEVILLE – “Amid the current dismal economic news, there is finally some good news for citizens of theUpper Cumberlandarea who are struggling to pay their utility bills,” recently announced Luke Collins, UCHRA Executive Director.
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has received notice from the Tennessee Department of Human Service of an award in the amount of $3,794,695, the same a last year’s award, for the FY 2013 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“With these funds in the coming year UCHRA will be able to provide utility assistance to in excess of 7,000 low income Upper Cumberland households,” he continued. UCHRA will begin accepting LIHEAP applications at each of its county offices for this funding period beginningJuly 1, 2012.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program, through the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), designed to assist low income households in meeting home energy needs and is intended to supplement energy costs for those eligible households.
Priority for service is not “first come, first served,” rather it is based upon a point system that takes into consideration such factors as household income (maximum of 150% of the Federal Guidelines), and having household members who are elderly, disabled, and/or children (under age 6). Another factor is the % of income the household pays for its energy.
Documentation of income will be required for the application process and include proof of all household income. This includes check stubs for 13 weeks, Social Security or Pension Award letters, unemployment benefit letters. Bank statements will no longer be accepted as income documentation.
If self-employed an applicant should provide a tax return or 4 weeks of receipts and expenses. Applicants should also provide a copy for one month of the household’s electric and/or gas bill in the last 12 month (the highest bill is most beneficial to the applicant). Social Security cards are required for all household members. Some additional documentation may be required to process applications.
Assistance provided to households ranges from $300 - $600 depending upon its total points. Once an application has been submitted by a household it will be notified by mail within 90 day of the status of the application.
Households awarded assistance are required to continue paying their energy bills until the awarded payment has been received by its designated utility provider, and when benefit is exhausted the household will return to paying for the energy costs.
The UCHRA Cannon County office is located at 310 West Main Street, Room 302, Woodbury, TN and can be reached by calling 615-563-2916.