KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The COVID-19 pandemic has many struggling to pay their bills, but two programs are helping people heat their homes this winter.
Evergy is reminding customers of resources to pay their utility bills such as LIHEAP and LIEAP.
In Missouri, applications are currently being accepted for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). According to Evergy, last year customers received an average of $300 in financial help.
In Kansas, applications for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) start on Jan. 4. The utility company said last year customers received an average of $600 in financial help.
The deadline for both LIHEAP and LIEAP is March 31.
Maria Lopez with Evergy said with more people out of work or with reduced hours from their jobs, these programs could help provide some relief.
“With this being new to a lot of people, many people have lost their jobs. This whole assistance process may be new to them, so I would hope that they would also apply for these resources because money is out there and available," Lopez said.
In order to qualify, applicants must prove they're responsible for the utility bill and fall into the financial requirements for help.
In Missouri, people must be at 135% of the federal poverty level and at 130% of the federal poverty level in Kansas. That means a family of four in Missouri would earn $35,370 annually. A family of four in Kansas would earn $33,480 annually.
Lopez said when applying, it is important people make sure their application is complete.
"I’ll tell you the number one thing that I hear from the LIHEAP offices is that they get incomplete applications. Whether they forget the proof of income or they forget to fill out the social security number in full and then it just prolongs the process," she explained.
Lopez added that people who apply but are denied for LIHEAP or LIEAP could also explore help by contacting the United Way 211.