Metro Action customers seeking assistance with utility payments not eligible until October 1

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced the application date for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for 2013-14 will be October 1 instead of July 1. This change is due to LIHEAP funding shifting from DHS to the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency (THDA).   Metro Action and other local agencies throughout Tennessee now will receive LIHEAP funds from the federal government through a pass through grant from THDA.

“It is especially important that we get the word out about the new eligibility dates to the community, especially to our elderly and disabled customers that rely on us for energy assistance annually during the early summer months,” said Cynthia Croom, executive director of Metro Action.

Here is how the transition will affect customers seeking help from the energy assistance program:

· Customers that have been served between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 will not be eligible until October 1, 2013, instead of July 1, 2013.

– Customers that have not been helped by the agency since July 1, 2012 would be able to apply during a special transition period beginning July 1 until September 30.

Moving the eligibility date from July 1 to October 1 is expected to be challenging for the Metropolitan Action Commission customers, particularly those that are new to the program. To help with the transition, DHS will allow Metro Action to serve new customers sooner using transition funding.

“DHS provided transitional funding beginning July 1 through September 30 to give new customers extra time to apply before the new funding year starts,” said Croom.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that assists households of low income families pay utility bills, particularly residents that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy bills.

The transition will not affect programs such as the Adult Education/GED Program, Property Tax Assistance for seniors, prescriptions costs and rent or mortgage payments.  Assistance is still available for these programs for all qualifying customers beginning July 1.

The Metropolitan Action Commission administers these funds for Nashville and Davidson County.