HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Public Welfare is encouraging Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients to apply online this year for assistance in paying home heating bills, a new process that will make the application process faster and will save taxpayer dollars.
The department is sending all LIHEAP clients who applied online last year a postcard notice encouraging them to reapply online. In the past the department sent only paper applications to all perspective clients, even if they applied online the previous year.
"Paper applications will always be available to our clients who prefer them," Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander said. "But, in order to reduce administrative costs within the LIHEAP program, we are taking a different approach this year by encouraging clients to apply for the program online."
Clients who received LIHEAP last year will have the opportunity to apply prior to the LIHEAP program opening on Nov. 1. By way of the new postcard, clients will be provided with a pre-registration number giving them access to an online application that has already been filled out using last year's data. Clients will simply have to make sure their online information is correct and update anything that may have changed, saving both clients and the department valuable time.
All online applications are sent straight to the county office to determine eligibility, thereby eliminating mail and hand processing time. In addition, the department will save approximately $75,000 by sending postcards instead of full application packets in the mail.
"The LIHEAP program is a critical component to helping Pennsylvania families make ends meet by keeping them warm and safe during the winter months," Alexander said. "This is also an example of how the department has looked at each and every program and identified both big and small ways that we can reduce government waste."
LIHEAP is a grant program that offers home heating assistance to eligible low-income households or families in crisis. Each year, the LIHEAP program serves 392,349 Pennsylvania households.
New applicants can begin applying for the program on Nov. 1. Previous clients who applied online last year, and those participating in a pilot postcard application program in Lancaster County, should be receiving a postcard. The rest will receive paper applications in the mail. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
LIHEAP benefits will be issued beginning Nov. 1. Clients interested in applying online can visit www.compass.state.pa.us.
For more information on LIHEAP, visit the Department of Public Welfare's website at www.dpw.state.pa.us.
Pennsylvanians who suspect welfare fraud should call 1-800-932-0582.
Media contact: Anne Bale or Donna Kirker Morgan, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare