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People who need help paying heating bills this winter may be eligible for assistance through the North Dakota Department of Human Services.
Barnes County Social Services began accepting applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) on Oct. 1. LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered through the state.
On Tuesday, Mari Quittschreiber at Social Services said so far about 100 people have signed up for the program.
â€śWeâ€™ve probably had less people applying now than last year at this time,â€ť Quittschreiber said.
â€śA lot of times it just depends on the weather. Last year was kind of a mild winter so less people applied.â€ť
Quitschreiber said the income levels to be eligible for this yearâ€™s LIHEAP were increased from last year compensate for a rise in the cost of living. This yearâ€™s program ranges from one person making $24,428 or less annually to six people making $62,010 or less annually. The total number of assets in the residence cannot exceed $10,000 for people 59 or younger or $15,000 for people 60 and older. There are also deductions for expenses such as child care, child support and medical costs.
Applications are available at the Barnes County Social Services office in the Barnes County Courthouse and will be accepted until May 31.
Applicants will be notified within 45 days if they are eligible for benefits.