Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LIHEAP Can Help Pay the Utility Bills When You Can’t

April 16, 2019
LIHEAP is an energy assistance program that was developed over 30 years ago by Congress to assist those who need help with utility bills.

The program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Service and is operated under state agencies.  LIHEAP operates with the federal grant money they receive, as well as private dollars, in order to provide low-income households with assistance for their utility bills.  This program started in the Northeast to address the rising heating costs in the area but soon became prevalent around the country.

In the beginning, LIHEAP only offered help for fuel or electricity bills. The program has since expanded to ensure that low-income families receive the help they need all-year long to live in safe conditions. More than seven million households have been helped since the start of the program. The majority of those who received help have been the disabled and elderly, as well as families who have young children in the home.

Understanding How LIHEAP Works

Those who apply and qualify for LIHEAP will be eligible to receive government assistance to use towards cooling and heating costs. There is also additional support available to those who have energy emergencies, such as in the event of a natural disaster or extreme cold or heat. This program allows for the working poor to receive the assistance they need when they cannot pay their utilities. As many families often have to choose between paying their utility bills or buying necessities such as food and medicine, LIHEAP offers a way to do both.

A grant from LIHEAP also provides low-income families and individuals assistance with residential weatherization projects that can help keep their utility bills low to begin with. They also offer educational programs that are related to energy consumption and savings. The LIHEAP program aims to improve all cooling and heating safety issues in homes that need help. They also aim to prevent any medical issues that can arise because of unsuitable temperatures in the home.

LIHEAP Qualification Guidelines

Every state varies when it comes to the rules of LIHEAP. However, these benefits are usually available for families dealing with a wide range of energy issues. One example is renters who are living in public or subsidized housing. These individuals will still be eligible for LIHEAP if they meet the income guidelines. The government may either provide the assistance directly to the renter if he or she is responsible for the bills, or they may give it to the landlord if the property owner is responsible for heating and cooling costs, allowing them to charge their tenants less rent.

Individuals are typically able to receive LIHEAP help even when they are receiving assistance from other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those receiving help from the Veterans Administration or Social Security may also be eligible.

An individual can receive LIHEAP assistance when they are employed, as long as they do not earn more than the maximum income limit. This limit varies state to state.

LIHEAP Assistance Amounts

The amount of assistance that a person will be given from the LIHEAP program will vary greatly depending on a few factors. One is the state that they reside in and the other is their circumstances. Generally, the amount is determined by the income of the person or family, how many people are residing in the home, and how much heating and cooling costs are. All wages of the adults living in the home are typically considered when applying for LIHEAP.

Other Services Available Through LIHEAP

There are other LIHEAP services that may be available to homeowners and renters depending on their specific location. To find out more, contact the state agency responsible for assistance programs. In some cases, LIHEAP funds may be provided to those who are in danger of having their utilities cut off. Renters and homeowners may also find assistance that will help them replace inefficient air conditioners and heaters in the home, which will reduce the utility bills in the future. LIHEAP and other programs may also provide help to those who have suffered through a natural disaster, such as a tornado, flood, or hurricane.

Lifeline Program Promotes Equality in Communication

April 16, 2019
Lifeline is a federal benefit that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service.

Safelink Wireless

If you get Lifeline for phone service, you can get the benefit for one mobile phone or one home phone, but not both.  If you get Lifeline for internet service, you can get the benefit for your mobile phone or your home connection, but not both.  If you get Lifeline for bundled phone and internet service, you can get the benefit for your mobile phone bundled service or your home bundled service, but not both.

If you are part of a family that the government considers 'low-income,' there are programs available to you that can help you receive a free phone. These programs will typically help connect your phone to eligible, equally free services as well.

All new subscribers must demonstrate that they are eligible. In some states, a subscriber’s eligibility may be able to be confirmed through a database. Where a database is not available, subscribers must show proof of eligibility by demonstrating that they meet the income qualifications or participate in a qualifying program listed above.

Under FCC rules, you may only be enrolled in a single LifeLine program per household. However, in the event you are receiving service from another provider and want to change your LifeLine benefit, it is easy to switch. Once approved, you can even keep your phone number. After you apply, you can transfer your LifeLine service from the current provider and you can begin to enjoy the benefits provided under the terms of the Lifeline program.

You might be able to use any one of the following programs to establish at least one landline at a fraction of the usual cost. In addition, they might be able to help you and your family get additional minutes per month for each phone as well as provide you with the phones themselves. The terms and conditions for each program will vary, and not every program is available in every U.S. region. We recommend that you check availability when you're looking into these matters.

1. Safelink Wireless

If you're approved for the Safelink program, you'll get a free cell phone and the number of free minutes you receive depends on the plan you choose.

As long as you qualify for the service according to state regulations, there are no other restrictions other than that your phone line must be based in your place of residence and under the legal name of the qualified customer.

LifeLine customers are required to make at least one call or send one SMS message every month or risk being de-enrolled from the program.

Virgin Mobile helps to provide low-income families with free phone services via its Assurance Wireless program. If you are approved for the Assurance Wireless program, you'll get a free phone complete with unlimited texting and 500 minutes per month for taking calls. Although the Assurance program was originally only offered in just five states, it has recently grown to encompass several more.

The Toll Limitation Service, or TLS, is now partnered with both LIfeline and Link Up services to provide resources to low-income families still in need of a landline. This program aims to provide those in need with the non-cellular services that other companies might not be able to offer. Lifeline is available through several phone carries and telecommunications companies. It can save members a minimum of $10 per month and cover a portion of start-up costs. The program covers up to $30 of these costs and you have the option to borrow up to $200 at no interest for a year.

Other Services for Single Parents

Single parents raising children on small budgets can qualify for several programs via the government. The SNAP program, formerly the Food Stamp program can help you with groceries and there are housing programs to help with shelter and utility bills. You may also qualify for medical programs and childcare assistance. You can call 211 to learn about the programs offered in your region.

To apply, please visit Safelink Wireless

Understanding Government Grants

April 16, 2019
Navigating Government Funded Assistance Programs

Those who are enduring hardships or financial struggles might find assistance from various government aid options. This is also beneficial for students who wish to pursue a higher education, or for people who are forced to deal with the skyrocketing medical costs. Those who usually look for government aid and assistance make the major mistake of thinking they are entitled to the aid. However, the truth of the matter is that government aid is only provided to the individuals that the government thinks has a good reason to need it. There is no one in the world that is guaranteed this government aid just for being alive.

In fact, this government aid is not just “free money” that the government just gives out at random times or just for anyone dealing with a hardship. The truth is that there are many programs out there that are designed by the government specifically to serve a purpose of both relief and aid. These created programs are set to cover a wider range of needs that the government thinks is necessary to provide the aid. Many of the programs include things like health care, job training, infant care, nutrition, and education. The programs are each funded by the government, and they have the right to distribute this aid to anyone that has a specific need. In this way, it is easier for the government to distribute the aid to people, instead of fielding any general requests for the help from anyone out there that thinks they need it.

In order to receive the aid, the applicant needs to fill out and file the application for the specific program in which they need the aid. Along with the application, the applicant must also meet the strict requirements for eligibility. Most of these aid programs do not offer cash options.
The government benefits website is not designed to provide any government aid directly to the individual, but instead, it is used to find the government benefits program that you might be eligible for. Sometimes, these programs are vital to a family, especially if they are struggling to survive financially. Having many children and several bills can make it difficult to get government aid, but it can help makes the ends meet in several ways.

If you choose to use this website, you need to head to the website and choose from one of two options: browsing benefits and the benefits finder.

The Benefits finder is a simple questionnaire that will ask the individual about their current situation, why they are searching for aid, and more. By answering all the questions along with the survey, you will be provided with a set of benefits that you might be eligible for. This questionnaire works by searching through the government aid programs, which makes it much easier for finding the appropriate programs for your needs.

Browsing benefits is a service that allows you to search for the benefits you might be eligible for. You can simply use the search feature by going to the website, finding the Browse Benefits tool, and browse according to the categories of assistance. If you want, you can easily arrange the list by state, category, or Federal agency in order to better help you find the best program for your needs.

Obtaining Grants

Unfortunately, the government benefits website can’t help you obtain the government grants that you want. These awards are not designed to give personal benefits or assistance instead of toward organizations or individuals. To apply for the government aid, you need to go to the grants government website to find the available grants to apply for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the website know which aid programs I might be eligible for before applying?
The website uses a series of complex software options that cross-reference your specific answers to the questionnaire with the available programs list. While there are more than 1,000 Federal funded programs out there, the software will check with each of them to ensure that you match with them. When you answer more questions, you will get a higher accuracy in the system. This also helps you match with more programs. The first set of questions are the only ones required, but many people recommend that you answer all questions possible in order to maximize your potential benefits.
Why does my specific surgery mention that I “might” be eligible?

Since the aid is never a guarantee until it is approved by the government, you can never know for sure whether you are eligible or not. The only way you can fully know if you are eligible is by completing an application. Benefit eligibility is also an ever-changing situation, so things like birthdays, deaths, or accidents can change your specific eligibility.

There are a few individual grant opportunities out there that might better help you get aid where you need it. Some of these opportunities will require a certain eligibility as well. The Rural Rental Assistance, Good Neighbor Next Door Program, Disaster Relief Assistance, and Housing Loans and Grants are just a few of the individual programs available right now. If you want to search for the full list of housing grant opportunities as well as other benefit opportunities, you can go to the government website, using the browse feature, and look through the programs until you find the one that best fits your needs financially. This website is also helpful for getting your application finished.

 To apply, please visit Benefits.gov.