• 46°

County DSS to pay heating bills for approved low income families

Winter could be a little bit warmer with a little help with the Rowan County Department of Social Services.

DSS will begin accepting its first batch of applications for the low income energy assistance program on December 1. The second batch of applications will be accepted starting Jan. 2, 2015. The program requires special conditions to be met, but would provide $200 to $400 if applications are approved.

Basic requirements include having at least one U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant in the household, a heat source billed separately from rent or other expenses, income that is below 130 percent of the federal poverty level and have resources less than $2,250.

For example, a house with only one person in it must have an income below $1,265 per month and a house with nine people living in it must have an income below $4,784.

DSS Director Donna Fayko said there’s no specific limit to how many people can apply.

“We’ll just use the money until it runs out,” Fayko said. “If you think about a family who has a mother with young children, during the winter months they can’t afford to pay the bills and it’s an additional expense to pay the heating bill.”

Last year the program paid bills for more than 1,500 Rowan County families, amounting to $443,700, according to Fayko. Despite the amount of money spent, Fayko said the total number of people served, and subsequently money spent,  was less than the total amount possible. As a result, Fayko said DSS had to return the remainder of the department’s money.

“Over the past two years, because of mild winters, we have had excess money and had to return it to the state,” she said.

When applications are approved and money paid out, Fayko said DSS submits a check to the power company, which could take two weeks. It’s only a one time payment, Fayko said. Families cannot re-apply in January after receiving a payment in January.

If a family’s heating bill is less than the total check payment to the power company, Fayko said an account credit would likely be applied for future bills.

The applications accepted on December 1 require specific conditions be met, including: one person living in the home who is age 60 or older or one disabled person who receives social security. The household can also include a person who receives 100 percent Veterans Affairs disability and also receives services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Applications for all other households will begin on Jan. 2 and continue through March 31, or until funds are exhausted.

“I’d encourage people to apply because my preference is not to send it back,” Fayko said.

The Rowan County DSS is located at 1813 East Innes Street in Salisbury.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246



Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021


$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row


China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program


Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome


State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions


Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it


Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting


Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits


Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker


Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank


North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys


Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools


Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house


Quotes of the week


Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid


When will gas situation return to normal?


Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart


GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire


Black high school softball player told to cut hair


State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan


CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors


One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday