Single Parents how to get help Paying for Heat

As a single parent, it is often hard to meet expenses on one income. The winter season can carry a particularly large financial burden because of the need to pay for fuel.

Paying for fuel is expensive, and with energy costs consistently on the rise, this is often a financial hardship. Yet on those frigid days you have to keep the heat on because you don’t want your kids going cold or your pipes freezing.

Sometimes meeting this expense really empties out a monthly budget, especially on those winters that have prolonged freezing temperatures. The good news is there is help available to help you pay for heating costs and if you qualify you won’t have to choose between important expenses such as food, heat and electricity.

In the U.S., there is a program called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (more commonly known as HEAP). Established in 1982 as a federal program, all 50 states receive grants to provide home energy assistance for lower income families.

To be eligible, you’d have to fill out and submit an application to help your local social service agency determine if you meet income stipulations to qualify. It doesn’t matter if you rent or own your dwelling; the eligibility determinant is based on income.

The program is structured as a sliding scale one, and the lower your income, the more benefit you are eligible to receive. Once you file your application, it will be reviewed by a caseworker who will examine your income to see if you qualify. If you are deemed qualified, then the amount you’re eligible will be determined.

There is also an additional benefit in the year if you have no resources from which to draw, and this amount comes in a sum which you can receive as an extra to help pay for heat. Additionally, if you meet criteria for eligibility, the HEAP program will help you repair, or replace, a heating system if yours breaks down.

Keep in mind, to apply for heat assistance, there may be a specific time frame to file your application, and this will vary depending on which state you live in. Some states run seasonally, and you may be limited on the timeframe you can file.

For instance, in some states the program runs from October – March, but others may begin as early as September and end as late as May. Be sure and check with your local Social Services agency to be sure you have the correct filing dates for your place of residency.

Additionally, there is also another program called the Weatherization program (the name may vary in some areas of the country). This can help you better prepare your home for winter and aid in scaling back on fuel costs. What the program does is help you get storm windows, doors, insulation or other ways to help conserve energy.

To get help under the weatherization program, there are also eligibility criteria to meet, but if you qualify, you can get help. Even renters can apply, however any home modifications must be approved by the landlord and an agreement made that there will be no eviction for at least a year after home modifications have been installed.

As a single parent, you don’t necessarily have to struggle when it comes to providing heat for your children and your home. There is help available for those who qualify. You can learn more about the assistance you can get to help you pay for heat on the U.S. Department of Health’s HEAP webpage.