Rising natural gas prices could mean increased need for LIHEAP assistance

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The price of natural gas is now at its highest for 7 years. In the last year alone, the price has increased 180% according to the US Energy Information Administration. Experts warn that this could lead to higher heating bills this winter.

Iowa Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a federally funded program that helps low-income individuals and families stay warm during the winter months. The state partners with local agencies to help with the program.

“I think the needs are probably going to increase a bit. Every time people’s heating bills go up a little bit, obviously we’re going to see more and more people come through our offices and ask for help with their utility bills, and it can even hit people who aren’t there. have not. applied before, ”said Chris Ackman, communications director of HACAP.

In 2021, more than 80,000 households requested assistance from LIHEAP. LIHEAP also raised its guidelines in 2021.

The previous income level of a 4-person household had to be equal to or less than $ 39,300. For fiscal year 2022, a household of 4 can earn up to $ 53,000.

“It can even reach people who haven’t applied before, maybe this is the time they need to apply because people are just on the edge of our, you know, the lines. income guidelines. So if, you know, the heating bill goes up by $ 10 a month, say, it could have a big impact on someone, ”Ackman said.

Elderly and disabled members of the community can start asking for help now; others can start applying on November 1.

Copyright 2021 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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Gail Mena

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