Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), which provides financial assistance with home heating bills, is now accepting applications and will continue to do so until April 30, 2014.
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 level, which equates to $2,944 per month for a family of four.
“The government recently released a report that a majority of US households will pay more to heat their homes this winter,” said Aggie Berens, LEAP manager. “After two years of flat or falling prices, natural gas costs are expected to increase by 13 percent this winter. We want to make sure that all LEAP eligible Coloradans are aware of the assistance offered by LEAP so that they can receive some help in paying these rising costs.”
According to Berens, the average LEAP benefit is estimated to be $425 per household. Last year, nearly 118,000 Coloradans applied for LEAP, and 96,009 households received an average benefit of $302.
To qualify for LEAP, applicants must be responsible for paying heating costs directly to an energy provider, fuel dealer, or as part of their 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:
- Colorado Driver’s License or Colorado Identification card; or
- United States Military Identification Card or Military Dependent’s Identification card; or
- United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card; or
- 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 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to have an application mailed.
- Visit any county department of social/human services across the state. To locate your county’s office, visit the program’s Web site at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
- Download and print an application from www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
LEAP eligible households may also qualify for the Crisis Invention Program [CIP] and Colorado’s Energy Office’s Weatherization Program. The CIP operates year-round and provides assistance with a home’s primary heating source such as a furnace or wood-burning stove. The Weatherization Program improves the energy efficiency in homes throughout Colorado, thereby permanently reducing heating costs.
The State of Colorado also offers a rebate of property tax, rent, and heat expenses to low income seniors and disabled persons. Known as the Property Tax/Rent/Heat Credit (PTC) rebate, the maximum property tax rebate is $660 and the maximum heat expenses rebate is $192.00. The rebate is administered by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Please visit http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue/REVX/1216116072809 for more information and the rebate application booklet.
To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call toll free 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap to view the most current program application requirements.