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Missouri expands LIHEAP for residents struggling with utility bills

New website calculates home energy vampires
Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 19:09:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri residents who meet certain guidelines may be eligible for additional assistance to help pay for home utility costs.

Gov. Mike Parson announced changes Tuesday to the state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, Energy Crisis Intervention Program.

Residents facing utility shut-offs or disconnection historically have been eligible to receive the minimum amount needed from the Energy Crisis Intervention Program to get service restored from November through May.

Now, residents meeting certain requirements can receive the maximum amount, up to $800, toward home energy costs.

“We are very pleased to announce this improvement to the Energy Crisis Intervention Program, especially given the extreme winter weather our state is currently facing,” Parson said in a statement. “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.”

To qualify, individuals must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents; meet income requirements based on household size and fuel type; be responsible for paying home heating costs; and have less than $3,000 in bank, retirement and investment accounts, according to a release from Parson’s office.

During the 2020 fiscal year, Missouri spent $78.6 million on LIHEAP assistance to more than 108,000 households.

“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,” Parson’s office said in a statement.

Additional help with food stamps, Medicaid, child care subsidies and other benefits are available through the state’s Department of Social Services.

Missouri residents can get connected with help by using the state’s virtual assistant or calling 855-FSD-INFO (373-4636) from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.