Who couldn’t use some help paying bills? Some months it can be hard to make ends meet. Bills pile up and eventually something has to give. If you need help paying bills then there are some options available below.
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Need Help Paying Electric Bill:
If you’re facing the disconnection of your utility services then the first thing you should do is try contacting your utility company directly. Many utility companies will work with you or refer you to local organizations that provide help paying bills.
There are also federal programs like LiHEAP that can help with electric and heating bills for people with low income. LiHEAP stands for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LiHEAP is administered by your local office of community services. To find your local office just click here.
Qualification for LiHEAP will depend on your income. Although local income limits may vary, the current federal low income limit starts at $16,755 for a single person and increases by $5,940 for each additional member of the household. So a family of four will qualify if their income is below $34,575 annually. For the latest info and to find out if you qualify for the home energy assistance program you can visit the benefits.gov site.
LiHEAP Application Requirements:
- Valid photo ID
- Social security numbers and birth dates for ALL household members
- Proof for all income received by the household (copies of pay stubs, award letters, loans, etc.)
- A copy of the most recent heating bill showing company name, address, and account numbers
- A copy of the most recent rent receipt (if heating costs are included in rent.) The rent receipt must clearly show heat is included.
Help Paying Phone Bill:
For assistance with phone bills there is a government program called Lifeline that provides discounts on wired or wireless phone service for eligible low income users. The Lifeline program provides $9.25 per month in support for all eligible users that get telephone service from a Lifeline service provider. There could also be additional support provided at a state level for those that qualify.
To get more information on application process for a specific state and also determine if there are any additional state benefits that may apply, just visit the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website for more details.
There is also a pilot being conducted to expand Lifeline to include broadband internet service. To get more details on this pilot and whether or not your state is in the test program please visit the USAC broadband pilot site for more details.
Need Help Paying Rent:
If you need help paying rent then try visiting the National Council of State Housing Agencies. There you’ll find details on local housing finance agencies that administer federal and state housing programs.
These agencies help with at least three federal programs:
- Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit)
- Mortgage Revenue Bonds (MRB)
- HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)
They also handle other local state and federal housing assistance programs such as homeless assistance, down payment assistance programs, and state housing trust funds.
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Photo by James Burrage via Flickr