Vermont to cover federal cuts in heating aid programBy David Taube
VERMONT PRESS BUREAU | October 24,2012MONTPELIER — The state plans to provide $8.8 million in response to federal cuts for a low-income heating assistance program this winter.
The program, known as LIHEAP, helped 27,100 households last year, providing some $900 per family toward the cost of heating their homes. New cuts in federal aid, however, would reduce that average to just $543 per household for the coming winter.
The state’s newly announced funding, however, should help sustain benefits at the same level this year.
“We wish we could do more, but we felt that we needed to at least have a level-funded benefit,” Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said.
The Legislature had appropriated up to $7 million to help buffer cutbacks, provided that the Legislature’s Emergency Board approves the measure, Spaulding said.
That full amount is expected to be used, and the administration is confident the board will agree to the proposal at its meeting scheduled for next week, he said.
In addition, Gov. Shumlin announced that his administration has changed the way benefits will be issued to clients and their fuel suppliers. In the past, benefits were paid once a month for everyone who was eligible. Under a new payment system, families will receive assistance as they become eligible, eliminating what in past winters was a one- or two-month wait for help.
The state’s weatherization trust fund is expected to contribute $900,000 to the heating assistance pool this year, and $900,000 is expected to come from budget adjustments.
For federal fiscal years 2009 to 2011, the state provided no additional funds to the LIHEAP program. But last year, Vermont contributed $6.1 million to compensate for federal cutbacks.
The state’s first round for distributing benefits will begin Nov. 14 for more than 21,000 families.
A family of three can earn up to $2,944 per month in gross income and still be eligible for the program. Other income limits are adjusted based on the number of people in a family.
Mendon resident Susan Meadows Wind helped raise awareness about the looming possibility of reduced award amounts through the media and with a rally on the Statehouse lawn.
Wind said Tuesday she was so overjoyed she was crying when she learned heating assistance benefits wouldn’t be cut this year after all.
“I was just so relieved,” she said.
email@example.comMORE IN Vermont NewsVoters across America are beginning to “feel the Bern.” And make no mistake, the media and Sen. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.