Thousands of Americans have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, and with the cost of living going up, they’re having a hard time paying their utility bills.
Thankfully, the government offers a heap of financial assistance programs to needy Americans, and some of them are focused on providing a way to lower some households’ energy costs.
At times, this assistance comes in the form of lower payments on their bills, whereas other programs may offer to make their home a bit more energy efficient, lowering their energy bills in the long run.
We’ve compiled a list of assistance programs that focus on dealing with this growing problem in the US, and if you keep reading you’ll learn all there is to know about the programs that can help you save money on your utility and water bills.
Provided by the US Department of Energy, the WAP aims to reduce energy costs for qualifying low-income households, and they do it by improving a home’s energy efficiency, which can drastically reduce cooling and heating costs when applicable.
On top of offering adjustments to the home’s heating/cooling systems, WAP also deals with health and safety issues some households deal with in their homes.
The process itself begins with an energy audit which is conducted by a qualifying inspector, and after the audit, the program’s distributors will offer assistance to the best of their ability.
The most common safety issues are related to ventilation problems, lead paint in living areas, and mold growth.
These can cause a number of respiratory issues which become particularly dangerous with elderly inhabitants of homes dealing with problems like this, and with the help of WAP, their health is safe.
Eligibility for the program
It’s estimated that around 30 million families in the US are eligible for assistance through the WAP, with the main factor being the household’s median income level.
You should note that each state will have its own requirements for eligibility, although there are some general criteria that each state has to adhere to when administering assistance through the program.
On the other hand, some Americans may already be eligible for the program on account of being part of other government assistance programs like SNAP, SSI, or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
Another thing to remember is that state governments will prioritize households with individuals above the age of 60, individuals with qualifying disabilities, and families with one or more children.
Apart from being available to homeowners, WAP services are also available to renters, so make sure to keep an eye out for the program even if your current housing option is a rental.
Applying for the program
To begin the application process, you should first contact your state’s administrators of the Weatherization Assistance Program, and you can do this either through the phone, online, or in person.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information regarding the program, it’s time to apply, and you should remember that just like for the majority of other assistance programs, applications are free and quick to fill out, so long as you’ve provided all the documentation the office asked for.
Apart from some basic ID and personal information, you may also be required to provide proof of income for the last year, which will help the office determine whether you’re eligible for the program.
Finally, once you’ve submitted your application, the weatherization agency will review every application and weigh them by priority, meaning that you may be put on a waiting list if someone is more pressed to receive assistance than you are.
If you’re applying as a renter, you’ll also need to provide approval from your landlord before any services are performed on the home.
In contrast to WAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program’s main goal is to provide assistance to low-income households struggling with their utility bills.
They do this by helping them pay their utility bills as well as providing immediate assistance for their needs.
Eligibility for the program varies from state to state, although it’s usually based on income.
Much like WAP, priority goes to households with elderly or disabled inhabitants.
Applications for LIHEAP can also be completed online, and you can find out more about the application process by contacting your closes National Energy Assistance Referral hotline.
Utilities can take a huge chunk out of your finances, and many American families are having trouble keeping the lights on as the inflation rates keep soaring through the roof.
With the help of programs like WAP and LIHEAP, those in need can get assistance with their utility and heating bills as well as receive repairs to their home’s heating or cooling systems, which ultimately lowers their energy bills in the long run due to the increased efficiency.