Leap Benefits Available Until April 30, 2015

Denver CO. – As the weather turns colder, many of us are faced with increased costs to heat our homes. The LEAP program is designed to assist low–income households with paying the winter home heating costs but is not intended to pay the entire cost of home heating or utility usage.

To qualify for LEAP benefits, an individual must pay home heating costs to an energy provider, fuel dealer or as part of the rent. Individuals must also be permanent legal residents, have proof of lawful presence in the United States and make less than $1459 in monthly gross income. A couple must make less than $1967 per month. LEAP benefits are available regardless of resources.

To apply, individuals must complete the application, attach a copy of the most recent heating bill (or rent receipt if heat is included in the rent), and a copy of your driver’s license (or Colorado ID). The form must be submitted to the county LEAP office.

Many people are faced with crises when paying for home heating costs in the winter. Individuals who have an emergency or a shut-off notice should call 1-866-432-8435 for instructions on how to submit an application with the necessary documentation quickly to the county LEAP office.
LEAP is meant to “assist” with paying for home heating costs. It will not pay the entire amount. Individuals who qualify will receive one award which may be paid in two payments depending on when you apply for benefits. An average of $439 was paid in benefits in 2013-14. LEAP has 60 days to process an application.

Unlike some other benefit programs, participating in LEAP will not affect your SNAP (food stamps), Old Age Pension, Medicare, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income.

Individuals who qualify for LEAP may also be eligible for the Crises Intervention Program which may include emergency repairs or replacement of the heating system. Individuals who have an emergency should call 1-855-469-4328.

Individuals who do not have any emergency, but want to save money on energy may qualify for weatherization services. This can include energy audits, insulation, furnace repair or replacement, refrigerator replacement, storm doors or windows, and fluorescent light bulb replacements. To see if you qualify for this assistance, call 1-800-462-0184. This benefit is available to renters, as well as homeowners.

And lastly, many low income seniors who qualify for LEAP will also qualify for the Colorado Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate Program if they are over age 65 and have income below $12,481 ($16,476 for a couple). Forms can be obtained at 303-238-7378 and press “2”.
Individuals who would like to receive a form or need help completing the form should call 303-333-3482 or 1-855-293-6911 and ask for one of our counselors to assist.

Eileen Doherty, MS has been the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has almost 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at doherty001@att.net

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