Despite Colorado’s mild winter, many Coloradans are still struggling with the costs of heating their homes. Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) offers help to eligible Coloradans by providing financial assistance with home heating bills. LEAP began accepting applications on November 1st, 2012 and will continue to accept applications thru April 30, 2013.
LEAP is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income may not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty index which is $2,882 per month before taxes for a household of four people. The average LEAP benefit is estimated to be $302 per household.
To qualify for LEAP, applicants must be responsible for paying heating costs directly to an energy provider, fuel dealer or as part of rent; be a permanent legal resident of the United States and Colorado or have household members that are U.S. citizens.
“This season approximately 94,007 Colorado families have applied for LEAP and the program has helped nearly 71,338 families cover heating costs, ensuring that thousands of Coloradans will remain warm throughout the winter,” said Aggie Berens, LEAP manager. “Our goal is to make sure that everyone needing assistance knows help is available and where they can find it. “
All Coloradans who think they may qualify for LEAP are encouraged to call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap to view the most current program application requirements.
LEAP applicants must provide a copy of valid identification and a completed affidavit indicating that they are lawfully present in the United States. Valid forms of identification include, but are not limited to:
1. Colorado Driver’s License or Colorado Identification card; or
2. United States Military Identification Card or Military Dependent’s Identification card; or
3. United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card; or
4. Native American Tribal document.
As defined by the Colorado Department of Revenue, other forms of identification may be accepted as well. For more information on lawful presence requirements, contact the DOR or visit www.colorado.gov/revenue.
Completed LEAP applications can be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county office. Potential program applicants may obtain an application through the following:
• Call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to have an application mailed.
• Visit any county department of social/human services across the state. To locate your county’s office, visit the program’s Web site at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
• Download and print an application from www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
LEAP eligible households may also qualify for the Crisis Invention Program [CIP] and Colorado’s Energy Office’s Weatherization Program. The CIP operates year-round and provides assistance with a home’s primary heating source such as a furnace or wood-burning stove. The Weatherization Program improves the energy efficiency in homes throughout Colorado, thereby permanently reducing heating costs.