Missourians struggling with their heating bill because of the extreme cold will now have additional help. Gov. Mike Parson recently announced the state’s Energy Crisis Intervention Program will offer improved assistance to eligible low-income Missourians.
The Energy Crisis Prevention Program, which is part of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), assists households when their energy source has been shut off or is at risk of disconnection. The program pays the minimum amount needed on the fuel bill to get the household out of crisis. However, starting this winter, the program will pledge the maximum disconnect amount (up to $800) toward an eligible participant’s owed balance.
Parson said about the improvement to the program, “Since many Missourians remain in crisis for subsequent months, paying only the minimum to keep a low-income household out of crisis tends to prolong the situation. Now, we can make it faster and easier to resolve a household’s crisis situation.”
In FY2020, Missouri provided $78.6 million in LIHEAP assistance to over 108,000 households. In addition to meeting the income criteria, low-income Missourians must also meet the following criteria to be eligible for winter heating assistance through LIHEAP:
- Be responsible for paying home heating costs,
- Have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments, and
- Be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence.
It is very important for low-income Missourians who have received a disconnect notice or know a disconnect notice is coming to get help now to prevent service disconnection at a later date. To learn more about the LIHEAP program, visit https://mydss.mo.gov/energy-assistance.