More People Eligible for Assistance with High Utility Bills
By Eileen Doherty, MS ~
Denver, CO. Annually, people struggle with paying for high utility charges throughout the winter months, especially heating costs.
Colorado policy makers are hoping to bring relief to more Coloradoans this year. The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is especially important to low income older adults as the income guidelines have been increased.
Individuals who live in their own home or apartment who pay heating costs or fuel costs are eligible. Individuals who pay rent if utilities are included in the rent (except those living in subsidized housing) are eligible for benefits.
Individuals are eligible if they are lawfully present and are legal residents of the United States may submit an application for assistance. Individuals whose income is less than $2371 (or $3101 for a couple) may apply.
To apply an individual should submit an application, either online at Colorado PEAK or a paper application, to the appropriate county department of human services or the state contractor. Applicants must include a copy of a Colorado ID or a driver’s license, a signed affidavit, and a copy of the most recent heating bill (or a rent receipt that indicates the cost of utilities is included in the rent). The application must be signed.
If you have a shut-off notice, call 1-866-432-8435 for instructions on how to expedite an application. Some individuals may also qualify for a medical exemption for such things as needing their electrical service for such things as oxygen concentrators.
Individuals must continue to pay their heat bill while the application is being processed. LEAP will not pay all of the costs of heating bills.
Applications must be submitted by April 1, 2020. To receive application or help with the submitting the application, call Heat HELP at 1-866-432-8435 or 303-333-3482
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.