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By Michelle Worthington
Special to The SUN
Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) has already helped nearly 85,000 Coloradans pay their heating bills this winter, but there are still hard working families eligible for the program who have yet to apply. LEAP encourages those in need of financial assistance with home heating bills to take advantage of the program before the April 30, 2013 deadline.
LEAP is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty index, which equals a maximum income of $2,882 per month for a household of four people. The average LEAP benefit is estimated to be $302 per household. LEAP began accepting applications on Nov. 1, 2012, and will continue to accept applications through April 30, 2013.
“We want Colorado families to know that LEAP has funds available and time left in the LEAP season for people to apply for the program,” said Aggie Berens, LEAP manager.
To qualify for LEAP, applicants must be responsible for paying heating costs directly to an energy provider, fuel dealer or as part of rent; be a permanent legal resident of the United States and Colorado or have household members that are U.S. citizens.
LEAP applicants must provide a copy of valid identification and a completed affidavit indicating that they are lawfully present in the United States. Valid forms of identification include, but are not limited to:
1. Colorado Driver’s License or Colorado Identification card; or
2. United States Military Identification Card or Military Dependent’s Identification card; or
3. United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card; or
4. Native American Tribal document.
As defined by the Colorado Department of Revenue, other forms of identification may be accepted as well. For more information on lawful presence requirements, contact the DOR or visit www.colorado.gov/revenue.
Completed LEAP applications can be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county office. Potential program applicants may obtain an application through the following:
Call (866) 432-8435 to have an application mailed.
Visit the county Department of Human Services.
Download and print an application from www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.