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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For seniors worried about winter heating bills, HEAP can help

For people with low or modest incomes – including many older adults – high energy prices are a frightening prospect as we head towards cold weather.

But help is available through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).  HEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency's Office of Community Assistance.  It is designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating.

If you are eligible for assistance, the amount of your one-time HEAP benefit will depend on:  federal funding levels; how many people live with you; total household income (ex:  $20,108 max income for single households, or $27,143 for couples); and the primary fuel you use to heat your home.  In most cases, the one-time benefit is applied as a credit on your energy bill by your utility company (or fuel vendor). 

How to apply
Applications are available online and through a number of community organizations, including Community Action Agencies and Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).  Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) is the AAA for Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties.  Applications may be submitted anytime from now through April 2014.

Understanding eligibility requirements and completing benefit applications can be challenging for many older adults.  Council on Aging can provide information and assistance to seniors who wish to apply for the program.  In-home help with HEAP applications may also available for older adults who are homebound and disabled.   Last year, COA and area senior centers provided information or assistance with HEAP applications to more than 2,600 older and disabled adults in southwest Ohio.   

Seniors who wish to apply for the program should call one of the numbers below, depending on where they live:

  • Butler County:
    • Partners in Prime (513) 867-1998
    • Middletown Area Senior Center (513) 217-2481
  • Clermont County:  Community Services (513) 732-2277 (option 3)
  • Clinton County:  Community Action Agency (937) 382-1234
  • Hamilton County:  Council on Aging (513) 721-1025
  • Warren County: Community Services (866) 747-1042

For more information about HEAP, call the Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-282-0880 or 1-800-686-1557 (TDD line for hearing impaired clients). 

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