Low-income Virginians who need help with utility bills and emergency heating issues have until the end of Monday to apply for help through the Energy Assistance Program.
The federally funded grant program has operated since the 1980s and has served more than 100,000 Virginians in the past two years.
“The Energy Assistance Program is an essential lifeline for individuals and families who can sacrifice basic expenses to meet rising energy costs. The winter months can be very difficult when families struggle to stay warm,” Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner Danny Avula said in a statement.
Below are details from VDSS on program eligibility and how to apply.
Who can apply for energy aid?
Certain citizenship criteria must be met and household members must reside in the locality where their application is made. The program is limited to those whose income is below 150% of the federal poverty level, or about $3,400 gross monthly income for a family of four.
An online screening tool to assess eligibility is available under the “Am I eligible?” on the VDSS website.
What help can be received?
The amount of the fuel allowance varies each year, depending on the funds VDSS receives and the number of households approved for assistance. The amount of the benefit is determined by a number of factors, such as household size, income, presence of a vulnerable person in the home and the main type of fuel used for heating.
In previous years, the average fuel benefit was about $400 per household.
Where can I apply and when will I know if I passed?
Applicants may contact the Customer Service Center from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at (855) 635-4370 to file an application.
Residents can request assistance in person from their local department of social services. They can also print an application from the VDSS website then fax or mail it to the local social services department where you live.
Apps can also be submitted online at any time.