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State Offering Heating Help

US Department of Health and Human Services

Winter is blasting South Dakota were freezing low temperatures and below zero wind chills. The state offering programs to help heat low income homes throughout the cold season.

The heating program is run by the Department of Social Services Division of Economic Assistance. The program is funded federally by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

People struggling to pay for heating can apply if their income is no higher than $42,500 a year for a family of four. There are also options for households as large as ten.

Officials say citizens usually have time to apply before they lose heat. Heating companies regulated under the Public Utilities Commission must give 30 days’ notice before cutting heat to a non-paying home.

Dave Gall is a program administrator for the energy assistance program. He says the program has been working with the resources they receive.

“Well it’s been a pretty typical year for us. I mean so far this winter we’ve approved 19,689 cases which is up slightly from this point last year. The average benefit amount for an eligible household right now is $985. The federal funding has been sufficient for the number of households and we’ve really been able to help out a lot of households with their heating bills throughout the winter months,” says Gall.

Gall says people can see if they qualify through Social Service’s website or stopping in a local office. Applications can be accepted through March 31st.