Ohio updates application process for energy assistance programs in response to COVID-19


COLUMBUS – The Ohio Development Services Agency and Bridges Community Action Partnership are working to keep Ohioans safe during this time of emergency.

Recently, Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency regarding COVID-19, and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has issued orders to limit social interactions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, Ohioans who are enrolling in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus for the first time, applying for Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program or have limited income are no longer required to visit a local Energy Assistance Provider in order to complete an application.

Individuals can pick up a packet at the front door and return it with their documents to be completed. Appointments may be completed over the phone during the scheduled appointment time rather than face-to-face.

Ohioans can visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov to start their application and upload the required documents prior to their appointment. For those who do not have access to the internet and/or cannot upload documentation, the local Energy Assistance Provider can complete an application over the phone. For a list of required documentation or to schedule an appointment, call 937-507-9341.

“Working with our local providers, we have been providing Ohio families with the support they need to manage their energy bills, and now this support is even more important,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “The online application, in a normal scenario, makes it easier to apply and reduces the length of an in-person appointment, but now it is providing a bridge to assistance during an incredibly difficult time.”

The Home Energy Assistance Program will be extended until June 1.

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s interactive voice response phone lines will not be available, however, Ohioans may continue to call 800-282-0880 and select option 2 to be transferred to their local energy assistance provider.

The Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program helps income-eligible Ohioans pay their heating bills and can assist with fuel tank placement, fuel tank testing and furnace repair. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for WCP and HEAP assistance. For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $45,062.50. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for PIPP. For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $38,625.00.

Ohioans that have a regulated utility and have been issued a disconnect notice are eligible for a one-time WCP benefit if they have not already received a WCP or regular HEAP benefit.

For more information about the features of the Winter Crisis Program or Heap locally and what is needed to apply, contact Lynda Lukey at 937-507-9341. Additional information also can be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling 800-282-0880.