Central Florida seniors have until May 31st to apply for energy bill assistance through the Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program (EHEAP). Qualifying seniors are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in assistance on multiple energy bills, to purchase necessary materials, conduct repairs and more.
Utility categories eligible for heating/cooling bill assistance include electricity, natural gas, propane, wood/coal and refillable fuels. Benefits may also be used for:
- Pre-paying future energy bills
- Purchasing summer necessities, such as portable fans and window air conditioners – or items for winter, such as blankets and space heaters
- Repairing existing heating/cooling unit
- Deposits to connect or restore energy
- Late fees and disconnect/reconnect fees
- Charges from a now-closed account previously held by the elder resident
- Payment to landlord when utility costs are included in rent
- Temporary emergency shelter due to an energy-related crisis
“Seniors need to know that these funds can be used for so much more than just paying energy bills,” said Karla Radka, President and CEO of Senior Resource Alliance (SRA), Central Florida’s Area Agency on Aging that is overseeing EHEAP. “With prices rising on most goods and services, we are doing everything we can to ensure seniors have access to the assistance they need.”
EHEAP, which is 100% federally funded through a grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, helps qualifying seniors pay energy bills in an emergency. In 2021, SRA processed more than 1,300 applications, assisting in the distribution of over $514,000 in EHEAP crisis funds to help local seniors. The remaining 2021 funds expire at the end of May.
Qualifications for EHEAP eligibility in Central Florida include:
- Applicants must be age 60 or older and reside in a home located in one of the following counites: Orange, Seminole, Osceola or Brevard.
- Energy bill does not need to be in the elder’s name, but the elder will need to provide proof of residence, such as a driver’s license or other identification.
- Applicant must be experiencing a home energy crisis, such as disconnection, delinquency or past due bills.
- Applicants who meet the new eligibility requirements must provide proof of TANF, SSI or SNAP benefits, such as an award letter, in addition to documentation of total household income.
EHEAP applications are being processed directly by three SRA partner agencies: Osceola Council on Aging in Osceola and Orange counties; Meals on Wheels, Etc., in Seminole County; and Brevard Alzheimer’s Foundation in Brevard County. Those interested in applying should contact the Osceola Council on Aging at (407) 846-8532; Meals on Wheels, Etc., at (407) 333-8877; or Brevard Alzheimer’s Foundation at (321) 253-4430.