Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) Starts Dec. 1 in Charlotte Area

The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) will begin taking applications for help with energy bills starting on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. This year DSS was awarded $1,056,285 in LIEAP funds. Last fiscal year, DSS awarded $5,556,743 in LIEAP funds to over 25,000 households.

LIEAP has been helping low-income residents with their heating costs in Mecklenburg County for over twenty years in some form, but this year the North Carolina General Assembly has made changes in who is eligible as well as the process by which to apply. Those changes are detailed below:

DSS will be taking LIEAP applications from residents who meet the following criteria starting on Dec. 1:
· All members of the household must be 60 years of age or older

· Applicants must be disabled persons (receives SSI, SSA or VA disability) who are receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS)

· Applicants must meet income requirements of no more than 130% of the poverty level

· Payments will be made directly to utility companies during the month of the application, payments will not be made to the applicant

· Everyone who is eligible must apply, no one will be ‘automatically’ approved

· Applications can be made at either DSS location:

o Kuralt Center, 301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, or

o Chapin Hall, 3205 Freedom Drive, Charlotte

LIEAP applications will be taken through Jan. 31, 2012 or until funds are exhausted. If funds remain past this date, other eligible households, such as households with children under 5 years of age at up to 130% of poverty level receiving public assistance, will be allowed to apply through Mar. 31, 2011 or until funds are spent.