Colorado residents behind on home heating bills still have time to apply for help. The Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) encourages Coloradans in need of financial assistance with home heating bills to take advantage of the program and apply for LEAP benefits before the April 30 deadline.
LEAP is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty index, which equals a maximum income of $2,882 per month for a household of four people. The average LEAP benefit is estimated to be $302 per household.
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As of March 31, LEAP has helped nearly 90,000 Colorado households with their heating bills. However, there are still thousands eligible for the program that have yet to apply.
To qualify for LEAP, applicants must be responsible for paying heating costs directly to an energy provider, fuel dealer or as part of rent; be a permanent legal resident of the United States and Colorado or have household members that are U.S. citizens.
LEAP applicants must provide a copy of valid identification and a completed affidavit indicating that they are lawfully present in the United States. Valid forms of identification include, but are not limited to:
1. Colorado Driver’s License or Colorado Identification card; or
2. United States Military Identification Card or Military Dependent’s Identification card; or
3. United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card; or
4. Native American Tribal document.
As defined by the Colorado Department of Revenue, other forms of identification may be accepted as well. For more information on lawful presence requirements, contact the DOR or visit www.colorado.gov/revenue.
Completed LEAP applications can be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county office. Potential program applicants may obtain an application through the following:
· Call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to have an application mailed.
· Visit any county department of social/human services across the state. To locate your county’s office, visit the program’s website or download an application at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.