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Posted: December 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Residents can apply for home heating assistance

Federal program designed to give one-time support

Newton County residents who meet certain financial thresholds are invited to apply for assistance in paying their heating bills this winter through the federal government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance program.

To find out if you qualify for this year's one-time payment, residents should call either (770) 875-2642 or (770) 875-6385 to schedule an interview. An office has been set up to conduct applicant interviews by the nonprofit Action Inc. which will be dispensing the funds received from the Georgia Department of Human Resources, at the Conyers Street Gym located at 1146 Conyers Street across from the Covington Police Department.

Financial assistance will be awarded on a first-come, first serve basis.

Financial payments this year from the program, which has been around for many years, are larger than last year and will range from $310 to $350 per household.

John Scoggins, CEO of Action Inc. said payments last year averaged around $250. Congress increased funding to LIHEAP earlier this year as the result of rising coal and natural gas prices.

"Because there's such a large increase this year in the funding... Georgia is getting about three times as much heating assistance as it has in the past," Scoggins said.

The amount of money each household can receive under the program is determined by income levels and the number of people in each household. Scoggins said Georgia is estimating that the average payment this year will be $342.

Under the program this year Newton County was allocated $531,253. Already $42,740 has been awarded from the fund.

To qualify, applicants must have a yearly household income that is no greater than 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For a one-person household that would be $15,600; for two people $21,000; for three people $26,400; for four people $31,800; for five people $37,200; for six people $42,600; for seven people $48,000 and for eight people $53,400.

Applicants for funding should bring with them to their interview: proof of income regardless of the source (wages, child support, Social Security, Supplemental Security income, unemployment, TANF) for all household members for the last month, the most recent home heating bill, picture ID of the applicant, proof of age for household members 65 years and older and proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.

Non U.S. citizens that have a child in the household who has a Social Security number or who has applied for a Social Security number may also apply for assistance through the program.


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