The economic downturn that affection millions of Americans still lingers and many people still feel the pinch of diminished income and the increased cost of every commodity they need for day to day living. One area that many people find hard to sacrifice is food and that leaves out everything else in the list of priorities. As a result, the payment of utility bills has often times been neglected and people are always confronted by the threat of cessation of service because of the non-payment.
What many Americans do not know is that there is a way of paying their utility bills and getting back on track with their lives again despite the limited income. Availing of government grants for utility bills can help a lot of people who find it almost impossible to pay their bills that had backed up for several months. These grants can be used to pay electric and heating bills.
The Human Resources Administration Income Support Programs can help people with financial assistance in paying their utility bills. Grants are provided by the program to people who may either be recipient or non-recipient of public assistance. HRA provides grants to those low-income tenants who are in need of assistance to pay heating bills. To find out if an individual is qualified to receive assistance under the program, he can check for eligibility requirements by calling HRA at (718) 291-1900 or by visiting an HRA Income Support Center.
The Human Resources Administration also provides grants to prevent the termination of utilities. HRA grants assistance to people under the following categories:
- People receiving public assistance – HRA will pay for the utility arrears of up to 4 months of people who are receiving public assistance in order to prevent termination of utility service. Arrears beyond four months will not be paid; however, utility companies are mandated to restore service even with the non-payment of the arrears. Only people who have received notice of termination from utility companies are eligible to receive this grant. HRA will be repaid from a person’s future public assistance money.
- People who are in the process of applying for public assistance can also avail of this grant money to prevent termination of utility services. A termination notice from the utility company that shows a person’s name as the one responsible for the utility payment is required. If the grant is given, the same amount will be recouped from a person’s future public assistance money in the event that the application for the same will be approved.
- Household not eligible for public assistance may also avail of the grant to prevent termination of utility services on condition that the amount is to repaid to the HRA within one year that HRA pays the arrears with the utility company.
There are other federally funded programs that help people pay for the cost of their utilities such as the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) as well as some programs sponsored by the different States. There are also programs sponsored by private organizations and foundations and some are sponsored by the utility companies themselves.