Energy Assistance Tips

The application period to apply for home heating assistance is now half over as the application period is November 1 through April 30, 2010. There have been a few things that should have been presented earlier but better late than never. Let me try to keep this short and to the point. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know.

1. Instead of calling the local application agency to inquire about a LIHEAP application (for example in Union County the local agency is PROCEED) there is a statewide LIHEAP hotline number that applicants and food stamp clients can call instead of calling the local agency which just makes them take time out from processing hundreds of applications. The hotline number – which by the way is open on SATURDAY’s – is 800-510-3102.
2. USF portability is probably a term you never heard about. Portable can be defined as carried or moved with ease. In energy assistance terms, when a utility customer who is receiving USF benefits moves to a new address, their USF eligibility can be re-evaluated by a phone call to the utility. The customer tells the customer service rep they are receiving USF benefits but they are moving to a new address. The company will evaluate the energy usage at the new address and then the state of New Jersey will determine eligibility for USF at their new location. A simple phone call. Portability.
3. Every year the staff at NJ211 compile an energy guide. The 36 page 2009-2010 publication titled New Jersey Guide to Meeting Basic Utility Needs gives useful information on programs and agencies.

You can also access the New Jersey Community Resources energy assistance programs webpage which contains an eligibility chart of various programs and links to forms. If you have other useful energy assistance tips or information let me know.

Author: Michael Swayze

A retired county welfare agency administrator, who combines social work and computer skills to share information on community resources via the Internet since 1995. Active in voter engagement activities in Philadelphia, PA.

One thought on “Energy Assistance Tips”

  1. This entire program is a joke for low income people who are not currently employed. We sent in our re-application three months ago after being on the program for two years and we were told that because one family member is not currently working, that that social security number would have to be sent to TRENTON for verification, under a NEW policy. It’s been three months, we are now kicked off the program because Trenton is SO slow getting back to our local agency! What is the point of these programs if by the time we finally get approved, it will be time to reapply again? The agency was not helpful and had no information; just said that they have to “wait” for however long it takes for verification from Trenton (which should take a state employee a few seconds to verify each SS number.) I was told that it could be weeks…or even months. Just in time to reapply in November. Meanwhile, can’t pay my electric bill. Meanwhile, we got a rejection notice until Trenton decides to get off their behind and possibly respond.

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