HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania residents who received a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance crisis grant in the 2012-13 heating season will be receiving $200 in extra financial aid to use before this heating season ends in November.
The department had surplus funding from the last heating season and “wanted to make sure the money went to the people who needed it most,” said Anne Bale, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Welfare.
LIHEAP provides grants to eligible low-income households to pay for home heating fuel. In the 2012-13 heating season, crisis grants were approved for more than 122,000 households in Pennsylvania, 76 percent of which contain a person who is disabled, age 60 or older, or has a child under 5 years old.
Each of these households will automatically receive the $200 supplemental cash grant, which is paid directly to a household’s utility provider on the recipients’ behalf.
Bale said 4,278 households in Luzerne County, 387 in Wyoming County and 1,899 in Lackawanna County will receive the grants.
Beverly D. Mackereth, secretary of Public Welfare, said in a press release the extra federal funding will especially help older adults and people with disabilities in paying their remaining utility bills or give them additional financial support for the coming winter.
“Now, people who experienced a home heating crisis last winter will get additional support to help them prepare for upcoming heating costs,” Mackereth said.
The department is sending letters this week to the consumers who will receive the additional $200 grant payment in early September. The 2013-14 LIHEAP season is scheduled to begin Nov. 4, and the extra funds must be used before that date, Bale said.
Bale said people who find themselves in a crisis situation often had utilities turned off after the heating season was over, and they could use the additional grant toward back-charges that are still owed.