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Application period for winter home heating help opens in Connecticut this week

Chion Wolf

Residents who think they’ll need help paying their winter home heating bills this fall can apply for assistance as of Thursday, the state announced.

“May seem like an odd day, a hot day in August to be thinking about heating assistance,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news conference Wednesday. “But I think if we learned anything over the last two years, it’s that planning ahead really pays dividends.”

The program is called the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, and it offers both homeowners and renters help with heating costs.

“If you’re a family of four and you make under $75,000 per year for your household, you would qualify for a benefit under this program," said Deidre Gifford, commissioner of the state Department of Social Services. “If you’re an individual or a renter earning less than about $40,000, you would also qualify for this assistance.”

Gifford says the average payment is $400 to those who qualify.

The program is federally funded. The state anticipates getting $79 million this year, to be administered by the Department of Social Services. The question now is whether that will be enough. Earlier this month, a group of federal legislators wrote to congressional budget writers, asking them to increase funding for what’s known as the LIHEAP program — the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program. U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy signed on, as did U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney.

Lamont said that if that effort fails, the state may be able to address funding shortfalls when legislators come back into session in January.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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