MIAMI COUNTY — Now that winter has returned, those in need of help paying for heating bills have different options when it comes to applying for assistance.
“There’s the regular HEAP program, which is from the state,” Alyce Bell, HEAP coordinator of Miami County Community Action Council, said about the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). “The state would put a credit on their primary heat source bill. It’s just a one-time credit.”
The credit may be a one-time instance, but people can apply for it once a year and potentially receive it each year. Those who qualify for receiving it have to be living at or below 175 percent poverty. For 2016-2017, examples of the income levels include up to $20,790 for a one-person household and up to $42,525 for a four-person household.
A household applying for HEAP must report a total gross household income for the past 12 months for all members, except wage or salary income earned by dependent minors under 18 years old. Both homeowners and renters are eligible for assistance.
Applications for HEAP can be found online at development.ohio.gov/is/is_heap.htm or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 during regular business hours between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday for other assistance.
Miami County Community Action Council can also provide support in the winter if a household is in crisis.
“You do need to be in an emergency situation,” Bell said, which includes having a disconnect notice on the resident’s heating source. “What our program does is help get that disconnect rectified.”
Where other utilities are included together on the bill, such as for the city of Piqua, Miami County Community Action can only pay the electric portion, so there needs to be a copay to pay for the other utilities.
Those who wish to apply for heat assistance through this program should contact Miami County Community Action Council at (937) 335-7921 to set up an appointment and find out which documents they should bring to the appointment. Applicants will need to provide proof of their income and U.S. citizenship for every member of the household as well as have copies of their heating source utility bill.
Vectren and DP&L also have possibly payment plans available.
“Vectren and DP&L are regulated utilities through the state of Ohio. We can put them on the PIPP plus program,” Bell said. “PIPP plus is a payment plan based on income, so people with DP&L and Vectren as their utilities company could qualify for PIPP and they payments could be set based on their income.”
Those eligible have to be living at or below 150 percent poverty.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336