KARNAK — The Shawnee Development Council Inc., as administrator of the Home Energy Assistance Program in Massac, Pope, Hardin, Union, Johnson, Pulaski and Alexander counties, has announced that funds are available to assist income-eligible households with their natural gas, propane and electric bills and furnace assistance.

The program will begin Sept. 1 for all income-eligible households. Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis through May 31, 2022. There will be no priority groups this program year. Households in need are encouraged to apply.

Households must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level to receive a benefit from the LIHEAP Program. Beginning Sept. 1, there will be an option to accept a one-time payment to your utility provider, or to enroll in PIPP (percentage of Income Payment Plan), which consists of a monthly benefit you will receive as long as you make your monthly payment that will be determined at the time of intake.

PIPP is available for LIHEAP eligible households who are customers of Ameren Illinois. PIPP applicants will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis and the program will be offered until March 31, 2022, or when Shawnee Development Council Inc., has reached the maximum capacity of households for the program.

The 30-day income guidelines for LIHEAP and PIPP are based on Federal Poverty Guidelines, State Median Income and the number of persons living in the household. The guidelines are as follows: one person, $2147; two people, $2903; three people, $3660; four people, $4417; five people, $5173; six people, $5930; seven people, $6590; eight people, $6737; nine people, $6883; and 10 people, $7029.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides one-time benefits to income eligible homeowners and renters to help with energy bills and for reconnection of energy service. Propane customers are encouraged to apply when the program opens in September to take greater advantage of lower propane prices. Propane prices typically increase during the winter months so by applying early propane users will see their LIHEAP benefit go further.

LIHEAP application in-person appointments can be made with the local Shawnee Development Council office. The Massac County office number is 524-2941.

Required documentation will be accepted in-person and/or proxy, fax, U.S. mail, or county agency “Drop-Box.” To submit an application, the following documentation required:

• Proof of gross income from all household members for the prior 30-day period beginning with the date of application.

• Proof of Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for all household members. Individuals without an SSN or ITIN can still apply and Shawnee Development Council will advise accordingly.

• A copy of current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days.

• A copy of rental agreement (if renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact.

• Other documents may be needed based on the household situation.

For more information, contact the local office at 524-2941 or the main office at 618-634-2201.

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