The aid is the last of the $170.2 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program the state has distributed this year to 288,662 households.
"As economic times became more difficult nationwide, we recognized the need to assist more of the most vulnerable throughout New Jersey," Corzine said. "By expanding eligibility for this program, we have allowed over 92,200 more households to receive this much needed assistance."
As part of his economic recovery program, Corzine raised income eligibility for home heating aid from 175% of the federal poverty level to 225%. This increase allowed approximately 50,000 more households to be eligible this year. The 288,662 households and $170,217,604.00 represents an increase of 92,200 households and $74,523,505.00 compared to last year.
Many of households will receive Universal Service Fund benefits as well. Households heated by gas will receive an average of $1,289 per household and those heated by electric will receive an average of $982 per household. Households heated by deliverable fuel will receive an average of $1,200 per household. Checks were mailed over the week to current recipients. The deadline to apply for benefits was April 30.
The heating aid program provides low-income households with money to help pay their winter heating bills. Program funding is administered through the state Division of Housing and Community Resources. This year, the division received $188.1 million, compared to approximately $117.3 million it received last year. Corzine also increased the amount of the electric benefit by 10 percent over last year. He enhanced the gas benefit by 19 percent and enhanced the oil benefit to average approximately four times last year's benefit
For further information on the heating aid, call toll-free: 1-800-510-3102.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM