LIHEAP applications should be completed starting November 1
The Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers financial help to households suffering from heating crises. This federal program helps such low-income households to pay their heating bills. LIHEAP offers assistance through cash, which is paid directly to utility company. Those looking to receive this assistance don't need to show any unpaid bills. Households not receiving any welfare services can also receive cash aid through LIHEAP if they meet program criteria.
LIHEAP serves over 500,000 families a year. The program paid up to $1000 for heating assistance. The minimum amount a qualified household received was $100. In case of crisis, the minimum cash assistance was $25 while the maximum was $400.
The program assists low-income families for heating problems from November 1 to March 29. The cash aid for crises can be received from January 2 to March 29. The exact amount of cash aid depends on the type of fuel being used for heating as well as the county where applicant is living. To check the exact amount that you may get through the program, use thislink. You will have to select your county, and fuel type, to find the maximum benefit you can get through LIHEAP in Pennsylvania.
As we learn of good ways to save money on your utility bills, we'll post them here. If you try something and it really works - we'd appreciate hearing so we can highlight it even more for others. If you try something that is posted and it doesn't work - please let us know so we can delete the idea! You can always contact us at: email@example.com.
Note: At any point these programs may be discontinued or the guidelines changed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Low cost INTERNET from Comcast
Because the internet is such an essential part of our daily lives (and a child's education), Comcast will be starting a program in September 2011 called Internet Essentials. The idea is to bring affordable home internet to families whose income is below a certain level. If a family has children who receive free school lunches under the National School Lunch Program, they will qualify for Internet Essentials.
A family that qualifies will receive fast, home internet for $9.95/mo + tax. There will be no activation fees or equipment rental fees. They will also be given access to free internet training (online, in print or in a classroom). Families are eligible to participate in the Internet Essentials program if:
they live where Comcast offers internet service
they have at least one child receiving free or reduced school lunches through the NSLP
they have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days AND
they do not have an overdue Comcast bill or any un-returned Comcast equipment
If you believe your family qualifies, you can sign up by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). For more information visit: Internet Essentials.com.
OTHER LOW COST INTERNET OPTIONS
If you can't qualify for Internet Essentials - you might go to EveryoneOn.org and see if they have an option that would work for you.
If you have a student at Conestoga High School - there may be some internet options starting in the 2016/17 school year for freshmen and sophomores. Students should ask their counselors for more details.
SAVING ON PHONE BILLS Did you know that you can use your computer to make FREE phone calls. IF you have internet service and a gmail account - you can go to google and make a call anywhere, anytime in the USA or Canada - for FREE! Here are the steps:
Sign into gmail. If you need a gmail account - you can set one up (for FREE) by going to gmail.com. You don't need to actually USE the gmail account for emails - but you can if you want! But you will need to sign into your gmail account each time you want to use the phone option.
Once you are on the page that you'd use for your gmail emails you should see the words: CALL PHONE along the left hand margin. (Remember that gmail may alter the design on their page and this may change locations). Just click on that and a phone key pad will appear - you just dial the number you need and the call is made.
You can add video to the call if you want - but it can just act like a regular phone.
The photo on the right will show you the way it should look.
FREE CELL PHONE OPTION!!
ASSURANCE: If you receive certain forms of government assistance (food stamps, free/reduced lunch, etc.) - you may be eligible for a free cell phone that can be used for emergencies or just general conversation. The free phone comes with 250 minutes/month - more than enough to give you peace of mind for emergencies.
Have you heard about the Straight Talk phone plan available at Walmart? As the plan stands now*, you go to Walmart and buy a phone (anywhere from $30-$200 or more). Then you sign up for their Straight Talk plan.
They have a number of options available:
$30/mo - unlimited talk and text, no internet
$45/mo - unlimited talk and text and internet
There is also a plan to get a regular house phone for only $15/mo. (You do need to buy a receiver for this, plus the house phone - but those are one-time purchases.) This might be helpful for those of you with kids and you'd like them to have a phone at home.
They also have a family plan available for the cell phones - we don't currently have those details but you can ask Walmart for them.
Each month you can either go to the store and buy a new phone card and add the minutes to your phone, OR you can have it set up for a direct pay option. If you don't pay one month, then you just lose phone service until you pay.
In making the transition, you can keep your old phone number. This might be a MUCH CHEAPER way to have phone service for your family. Check it out!
* The plan details here are subject to change. Contact your local Walmart for more details.
SAVING ON WATER BILLS Do you know how to calculate how much water you use in your house? The government has a great page on their website that can help you calculate what your water bill SHOULD be. If your bill is lots higher - then you likely have a leak somewhere and need to contact a plumber. If you need to save money on a bill - perhaps checking out how much water is used by these activities would help you. For example - if 2.5 gallons of water are used EACH MINUTE for a shower - and you can cut 5 minutes off your shower - then you save 12.5 gallons of water per shower. If you shower every day - that's 375 gallons a month! Then you can look at your bill and calculate your savings. It all adds up!
There is also a CARES Services line, 1-800-774-7040, which is worth a try too.
T&E Care is an IRS recognized non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. The official registration and financial information of Tredyffrin & Easttown Care may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1 (800) 732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
**IMPORTANT NOTE** If you change your email address - please remember to notify us so we can keep you on our email list!!