Assistance Available For High Winter Heating Costs
By Eileen Doherty, MS ~
DENVER, CO. This is the season when many individuals face high utility costs. Both renters and homeowners can qualify for utility assistance if the household income per month is less than $1670 ($2264 for a couple). Regardless of the amount of money that you have in resources, you are still eligible for the Low Income Energy Assistance (LEAP) program.
LEAP does not pay for all of the annual heating costs. Individuals must continue to pay their monthly bills. Individuals who are facing a shut-off from the utility company, should call the county department of human services to see if they can work with you to avoid a shut-off. Individuals who are facing a shut-off may also qualify for a one-time per year medical exemption by working with the utility company.
To qualify for LEAP, you must be a US citizen or legal resident (or part of a household with a legal resident), pay heating costs either as part of rent or directly to a utility company, and meet the income guidelines.
Individuals can apply for LEAP either online at Colorado PEAK (just google Colorado PEAK for the link). A paper copy can be requested from the county department of human services or through our office by calling The Society.
Homeowners and renters who live in a single family residence, a duplex or a four-plex can qualify for help through the Weatherization program if they qualify for LEAP. The Weatherization program will help with the cost of new furnaces, refrigerators, windows, insulation and other home improvements to decrease the use of energy. Referrals to local agencies and more information is available through The Society.
Homeowners or renters who are 65 and over or disabled can apply for assistance through the Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate program, sometimes called the PTC 104 program. Individuals whose monthly income is less than $1,134 (or couples $1,528/month) are eligible to apply. Individuals who have not applied for the 2016 rebate can apply until December 31, 2018 and those who have not applied for the 2017 rebate can apply until December 31, 2019 through the Colorado Department of Revenue. This benefit is not available to seniors who live in non-profit senior housing units.
Counselors at the Colorado Gerontological Society are available to mail out forms or to assist with completing and filing the forms. Call 303-333-3482 or 1-855-293-6911 for assistance.
Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society. Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the Director of the Society since 1982. She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University.