First Lady helps Virginians stay warm this winter

virginia-newFirst Lady Dorothy McAuliffe is leading efforts this fall to make sure there is help available for low-income Virginians who have difficulty paying their heating bills.

The First Lady appears in a new Public Service Announcement encouraging individuals and families to apply for fuel assistance through the Energy Assistance Program, which is implemented by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Applications are being accepted now through Friday, Nov. 14.

“No Virginian should have to face the winter months without heat, so I’m encouraging them to submit an application, as soon as possible, to their local department of social services,” said Mrs. McAuliffe.

The program assists with various types of energy sources, including electricity, natural and liquid propane gas, oil, kerosene, coal and wood. Families and individuals must apply through their local department of social services office.

“Last year, Virginia experienced a pretty harsh winter, and we anticipate similar conditions this year. This program is designed to ensure eligible citizens have access to the heating assistance they need,” said Margaret Ross Schultze, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services.

To qualify for Fuel Assistance, the maximum gross monthly income for a one-person household cannot exceed $1,265.  For a household of four, the maximum gross monthly income is $2,584. Nearly 126,000 households received assistance last year.

The VDSS Energy Assistance Program is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant. LIHEAP provides funds to states to assist low-income households in meeting their home energy needs.

“This program is essential to many Virginia families who struggle to pay their winter heating bills,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “We appreciate this federal program, which helps Virginia meet the needs of thousands of Virginians.”

For more information on the EAP, visit http://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/index.cgi, to screen for services, or to apply online, visit https://commonhelp.virginia.gov/access/.

Watch the Fuel Assistance PSA by the First Lady here: http://youtu.be/eaQmUd23PI8



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