Heating cost assistance available, with automated payments and contactless application options

Posted December 3, 2020 at 12:56 pm     Category: News ReleaseSocial Services

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Health and Human Services is administering the federally-funded Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) for qualified households which began on December 1 for the first round of eligible households. The program provides a one-time annual utility payment to help eligible families pay their heating expenses during the cold-weather months.

This year, due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the state has created a pandemic LIEAP automated payment process to help eliminate the elderly and disabled population from having to physically come into the agency to apply for benefits. Eligible households may qualify for an automated payment for the 2020-2021 LIEAP season if a member of the household:

  1. Is age 60 or older, or a person with a disability receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS);
  2. Currently receives Food and Nutrition Services; AND
  3. Received LIEAP during the 2019-2020 season.

These households have been notified by the NC Department of Health and Human Services and do not need to apply for this benefit.

Starting December 1, any household with a person age 60 or older or disabled receiving DAAS services, receiving Food and Nutrition Services and did not receive an automated payment can contact New Hanover County Health and Human Services at 910-798-3500 to check their eligibility and receive instructions on how to apply.

Beginning January 2, 2021, all other households in need of assistance can submit a LIEAP application online through the Epass portal at epass.nc.gov. Applications will  also be available to download at SocialServices.NHCgov.com starting January 2, to be printed and filled out and submitted to the New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Department of Social Services. Applications can be submitted by email at DSSinfo@NHCgov.com, by mail or dropped off at 1650 Greenfield Street, Wilmington, NC 28402, or by fax at 910-798-7824. Households may also apply in person at the Health and Human Services building at 1650 Greenfield Street – social distancing and face coverings are required when visiting county facilities.

To be eligible for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program starting January 2, a household must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Have income equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty limit
  • Have resources, such as saving and checking accounts and cash on hand, at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for their heating cost

“We are working with the state to offer several ways to submit an application and conduct the required interviews over the phone this year for LIEAP, so that our residents do not have to come into our building to receive help paying their heating bill,” said the county’s Director of Social Services Tonya Jackson. “Many people are having financial difficulties right now, and we are here to help. If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for an automatic payment or you need help applying, you can call us at 910-798-3500 and we will help you navigate the process.”

The Department of Social Services, within New Hanover County’s Health and Human Services agency, administers the state’s LIEAP program locally. Applications are open through March 31, 2020, or until funds are exhausted and payment amounts are based on household size and income.

Visit the Social Services website for more information or call 910-798-3500.

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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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