Virginia energy assistance application deadline approaches
Low-income Virginians in need of assistance for utility bills and emergency heating issues have until the end of Monday to apply for help through the Energy Assistance Program.
The federally-funded grant program has been operating since the 1980s and has served more than 100,000 Virginians during the past two years.
“The Energy Assistance Program is a critical lifeline for individuals and families who may be sacrificing basic expenses in order to meet rising energy costs. The winter months can be very difficult when families are struggling to stay warm,” said Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner Danny Avula in a statement.
Below are details from VDSS about program eligibility and how to apply.
Who is eligible to apply for energy assistance?
Certain citizenship criteria must be met and household members must reside in the locality where their application is made. The program is limited to those with an income less than 150% of the federal poverty level, which is about $3,400 in gross monthly income for a family of four.
An online screening tool to assess eligibility is available under the " Am I Eligible?" tab on the VDSS website.
How much assistance can be received?
The fuel benefit amount varies each year, depending on the funds that VDSS receives and the number of households approved for assistance. The benefit amount is determined by a number of factors, such as household size, income, presence of a vulnerable person in the home and the primary fuel type used for heat.
In previous years, the average fuel benefit was about $400 per household.
Where can I apply and when will I know if I was successful?
Applicants can contact the customer service center 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at (855) 635-4370 to file an application.
Residents can apply for assistance in person at their local department of social services. They can also print an application from the VDSS website then fax or mail it to the local department of social services in the locality where they reside.
Applications also can be submitted online at any time.