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Due to COVID-19 effects, HEAP policies adjusted

LISBON — To protect the well-being of the residents of Columbiana County from the dangerous effects of COVID-19, policies requiring face-to-face interviews to complete certain Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) applications have been temporarily suspended.

Rules set in place by the Ohio Development Services Agency for households seeking Summer Crisis Program assistance, enrolling on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan for the first time, and those households with incomes at or below 30% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to complete in-agency applications will be suspended until such time as the regulating agency reverts to the official policy of record.

Community Action Agency’s HEAP Summer Crisis Program (SCP) begins on July 1 and runs through Sept. 30. Appointments for the HEAP Summer Crisis Program will begin July 6 and may be made by calling the automated phone service at (330) 892-8880 on June 29. Based on available staff, a limited number of same-day applicants will be served daily, on a first-call, first-served basis, from 8-9 a.m.

These appointments are replacing walk-in appointments. The agency will stop taking same-day applicants when the maximum number has been signed in for the day. Scheduled appointments begin at 9 a.m. Fridays will be same-day appointments only from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. starting July 10 for the duration of the program. For the first week of the program, July 1-2, the office will be taking same-day appointments from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The agency will be closed July 3 in observance of Independence Day.

The Summer Crisis Program assists low-income households with an older household member (60 years or older) or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health. Examples of conditions can include lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, etc. This year, households that were diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020, have a disconnect notice, have been shut off, are trying to establish new electric service, or have PIP default are also eligible.

The HEAP Summer Crisis Program allows for a one-time electric utility payment for eligible households. This assistance must result in the continuation of electric service for at least 30 days. Customers may receive an air conditioner and/or fan(s), or central air conditioning unit repairs.

The electric bill must be in an adult household member’s name. For those who rent and have the bill in the landlord’s name, you may receive assistance if you provide documentation showing that you are responsible for the bill. Tennant payments for electricity must be made separately from rent payments. Eligible households can receive up to $500 in assistance if they are a customer of a regulated electric utility or $800 if they are a customer of unregulated electric utilities, such as cooperatives and municipal utilities.

The assistance is applied to their utility bill, to purchase an air conditioning unit or fan(s), or to pay for central air conditioning repairs. To be eligible for an air conditioning unit or fan, you must not have received one in 2017, 2018, or 2019.

Applications can be scheduled through the automated system by calling 330-892-8880. The customer will have a phone interview for the scheduled appointment time. The customer will be required to provide the required documents to the agency to complete the application as soon as possible. If all required documents are not provided, the application may not be completed.

A follow-up phone call will be made to the customer in these situations. A working phone number must be provided for the phone interview.

Applications set up during same-day hours will have a phone interview for the scheduled appointment time. There will be no face-to-face interviews. Customers may call (330) 424-4013 between 8-8:30 a.m. Monday-Thursday to set up an appointment time for same day. On Friday, you may call from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to set up an appointment time for the same day. There are a limited number of same-day spots each day. The customer will be required to provide the required documents to the agency as soon as possible after their phone appointment, as no application can be completed until all necessary documents are obtained.

Applicants will need to provide proof of income for the past 30 days for all members of the household who are 18 years or older, which includes wages, Social Security income (even if received on behalf of a minor), pensions, cash assistance, OWF, TANF, odd jobs, self-employment, utility assistance checks, etc. In some cases, documentation for sources of income that we do not count (such as child support and assistance from non-household members) will be needed. Households with odd jobs, self-employment, and/or seasonal work (ex: bus drivers, teachers, landscaping, construction, etc.) must provide 12 months of income documentation. Households that have odd jobs and/or self-employment income must also provide their most recent IRS tax transcript, IRS form 1040 (must have proof that taxes were filed), or IRS form 1099. Household members claiming no income may be required to bring an IRS tax transcript or a verification of their non-filing status. You may contact the IRS at (800) 908-9946.

The application also requires proof of citizenship (birth certificates, Social Security cards, etc.) and Social Security numbers and birth dates for all household members. A current gas and electric bill is needed, even if the utility is in someone else’s name.

Those that heat with bulk fuel must know the size of their bulk fuel tank(s). For renters, the landlord’s name, street address, and phone number are required. All households receiving rental assistance must provide their most recent housing assistance agreement. If you do not provide all required documentation, your application will remain incomplete until sufficient documentation is provided.

Households with a member who is classified as permanently and totally disabled must provide proof of disability at the time of the interview. Acceptable documentation includes: Award/benefit letter, bank statement with deposit amount, copy of the check, printout from social security office, Medicare part D, Most recent IRS form SSA 1099 box 3, or IRS Form 1040.

Making an appointment will not stop a pending disconnection.

Any household that declares there is no household income other than assistance from family or friends must provide a letter signed by the family member or friend that has been providing assistance.

This letter must be signed and dated with the person providing the assistance’s name, address, and phone number and contain current assistance information (amount and frequency). For detailed guidelines, visit www.caaofcc.org.

Any information provided by customers will be retained and may be shared with the utility companies.

Those with questions may call the agency at 330-424-4013.

Return all required documents to: HEAP Office,

7880 Lincole Place, Lisbon, Ohio 44432

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