You may not be aware that Virginia electric bill assistance programs provide low income households with financial assistance. There are multiple programs offered by charities, utility companies, the state of Virginia and the federal government.
If your family earns less than 130% of the federal poverty level, you can get access to federal funds through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). While this program can give you up to $100 a year to keep your home cool, the average heating assistance per household is over $450 a year. Your aid may come in the form of energy credits that keep your monthly bill affordable. Alternatively, you may qualify for emergency assistance if you have received a shut off notice.
Additionally, the State of Virginia waives sales taxes on fuel delivered through the LIHEAP program. The result is that you can receive the total fuel allocated to you without having to deduct for sales tax.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development may be able to assist with weatherization for your home. Funds that could improve the efficiency of your home are often approved whenever the applicant is low income, is elderly, has children and/or is disabled. Funding is supplied through the U.S. Department of Energy.
Your local utility provider runs a program that links allocated reserves and donations with needy households who either do not qualify for LIHEAP benefits or have already received their maximum allotment for the year. Programs include Operation RoundUP, Heatshare, Share the Warmth, Neighbor-to-Neighbor, EnergyShare and the Gas Assistance Program. Each utility provider operates their own fuel aid program, which can vary in benefits and may include emergency payments for gas bills, electric bill assistance, cooling fans or other help. Some programs are administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services while others are managed by the Salvation Army.
If you earn more than 130% of the federal poverty level, you may wish to contact one of the alternative programs above. For those who qualify, the federal LIHEAP program should be the best fit.
Make sure that you have documentation that confirms that the utility bill is in your name. Also, be prepared to provide information regarding the total annual income and number of members in your household. Rather than struggle to keep your home warm in the winter or bake during the summer, you can get electric bill assistance and other energy aid through one of these programs.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."