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Thursday, September 20 News

Energy assistance applications accepted starting Monday

DARIEN — With the fall and winter seasons approaching, the town will soon begin accepting applications for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.

The Department of Human Services will start accepting applications for oil-heated homes on Monday, and applications for households heated with gas or electric beginning Oct. 1.

“Last year we had 98 households apply for assistance,” said Alexandra Ramsteck, Darien’s director of human services.

The number of households applying in Darien has remained around the same in the last few years, Ramsteck said, with 95 households applying during the 2016-17 season. Residents can make an appointment with the human services department to begin the application process.

CEAP, a federally funded program that provides heating assistance to over 80,000 households across the state annually, is designed to help offset the winter heating costs for the state’s lower-income households. This helps households whose income falls at or below 60 percent of the state median income.

Winter heating assistance pays for a household’s primary heating source such as oil, natural gas or electricity on behalf of eligible households.

Proof of income is required to apply, Ramsteck said, as well as proof of liquid assets including a checking or savings account, stocks, bonds or IRAs.

To be eligible for the program, couples and families may have liquid assets up to $15,000 if they are homeowners, and $10,000 for renters. Ramsteck said if heat is included in an individual’s rent, they can receive a cash benefit ranging from $150 to $190. These guidelines also depend on income and household size.

“It (the program) counts anyone above 18, so the whole family has to be within the guidelines,” Ramsteck said.

Applications must be filed by March 1 for households with oil heat, and May 1 for gas or electric heat.

The first day for fuel delivery to oil-heated homes is planned for Nov. 14.

David Dearborn, communications director for the state Department of Social Services, said 93,318 households applied to CEAP last winter, with 80,467 being determined eligible for assistance. Dearborn said this coming winter the state is anticipating serving up to 85,100 households.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com, 203-842-2568

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