Social services offers help with heating

Published 10:04 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

If the few colder nights Suffolk has experienced lately have left you wondering how you’re going to afford to stay warm this winter, there’s help.

Applications for fuel assistance are being accepted through Nov. 12 by the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Energy Assistance Program.

“No Virginian should have to face the cold winter months without heat,” said VDSS Commissioner Martin D. Brown in a press release. “The federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps keep our most vulnerable residents warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We encourage those who think they may qualify — including those who have never sought assistance before — to submit their applications as soon as possible.”

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Last year, nearly 143,000 households received assistance through the program.

Fuel Assistance is a supplemental program to help households pay for heating costs.

The program can also help with furnace re-starts, late charges, delivery charges, installation charges, and connection or re-connection fees.

To qualify for Fuel Assistance, a one-person household’s maximum gross monthly income cannot exceed $1,174.

For a household of four, the maximum gross monthly income level is $2,389.

While called Fuel Assistance, the program assists with various types of energy sources, including electricity, natural and liquid propane gas, oil, kerosene, coal and wood.

VDSS’ Energy Assistance Program is funded by the federal LIHEAP block grant. LIHEAP provides monies to states to assist low-income households, the elderly and disabled with the cost of heating bills.

Programs for crisis assistance, cooling assistance and weatherization assistance are also available.

To see if you’re eligible, visit

Individuals and families must apply at their local social services office.

Suffolk Department of Social Services is located at 135 Hall Ave., Suite B. For more information, call 514-7450.