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State changing rules for heating aid program

RALEIGH — The state is changing application and eligibility requirements for a program that helps elderly and disabled residents with heating bills.
The N.C. Division of Social Services updated requirements for the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program in accordance with changes mandated by the General Assembly.
In the past, applications were taken in November and payments were sent directly to program recipients in February. Households participating in the Food and Nutrition Services Program (formerly called Food Stamps) were automatically approved. That is no longer the case. Under the program changes, all households must meet income and resource eligibility requirements and must apply for program funds; there are no longer automatic approvals.
In addition, at the direction of the General Assembly, energy payments will now be made directly to the service provider, such as power, gas or oil companies during the month of the application.
Applications for residents age 60 and older or disabled people who receive SSI, SSA or VA disability benefits and who are receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services will be taken from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31, 2012, or until funds are exhausted.
All members of the household must be 60 years of age or older, or at least one household member must be disabled and receiving services through the Division of Aging.
If funds remain available after Jan. 31, any other eligible households may apply during February through the end of March.
For more information, contact the Rowan County Department of Social Services at 704-216-8330. The department at 1813 E. Innes St. is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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