NC DHHS helps families pay heating costs during the COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Tuesday, thousands of North Carolinians will see some relief toward their heating bills.

The state Department of Health and Human Services announced the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program, a one-time payment for eligible North Carolinians, in a news release Monday.

"This is a one-time payment and the payment is made directly to the (vendor)," Deputy Director of Economic and Family Services for NCDHHS David Locklear said.

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Seniors over the age of 60, people who are disabled and receiving state services, and families getting food and nutrition benefits who were enrolled in the program last year are all elligible to apply.

DHHS said those individuals who qualify for the program have already been notified about the upcoming automatic payment.

"We recognize that a lot of families and individuals are facing difficult times because of COVID. Loss of employment, loss of hours, so we really encourage people to apply," Locklear said.

Anyone who does not get a notice about their automated payment but believes they should be elligible should contact their local department of social services, Locklear said.

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One-time payments can range from $300 to $500, depending on how you heat your home.

"Our elderly population--those 60 and older--our disabled, we all know that these folks are at higher risk for COVID, so we strongly encourage these households to contact us," Locklear said.

On January 2, all other households can apply for heating assistance online.

Money is available until March 31, 2021 or until the funds run out.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story quoted David Locklear as saying the payments would be made directly to the households. That has been corrected to show that the payments in this program go directly to the utility vendor.
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