Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 21, 2008

CONTACT
Dianna Seiffert, Communications and Legislative Services (402) 471-1695, dianna.seiffert@dhhs.ne.gov

 

Extra $4.6 Million Available for Energy Assistance

Lincoln—Thanks to an extra $4.6 million in federal energy assistance funds, Nebraskans in need may find some warmth during the cold days ahead. The money was given to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) earlier this year. LIHEAP helps those with limited incomes offset the cost of heating and cooling their homes.

Much of Nebraska’s share ($4,614,087) of the $450 million released nationally, will go where it’s needed most—to help families with their energy costs. DHHS issued payments in February to families who have already received assistance this program year.

The average LIHEAP benefit this program year has been $241. With this new money, DHHS increased that benefit by $100.

"This extra money means a lot to those in need especially with the long, cold winter we’ve had," said Todd Landry, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services for DHHS.

Benefit amounts to those who apply for and receive assistance in the future may increase as well. In addition, DHHS will give some of the new money to the Nebraska Energy Office for home weatherization assistance and may use some for crisis assistance.

The extra funds brings Nebraska’s total to $22.5 million for this fiscal year. Since this year’s program started in October, DHHS has provided energy assistance to more than 27,000 people and families.

To be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, individuals and families must have limited incomes and resources. Grant amounts are also based on the type of fuel used and on the type of residence. In addition, people may also be eligible for up to $500 in crisis assistance if they’ve been threatened with a utility shutoff or have received a shutoff notice.

For more information about energy assistance or to apply for the program, contact your local DHHS office. There’s also more information on the DHHS web site at www.dhhs.ne.gov. Search for "energy assistance."

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