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State level changes means fewer people getting help with heating bills

A policy change at the state level is impacting the number of low-income people the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership can help pay their winter heating bill.

The heating assistance programs works like this, anyone who makes 150 percent of the poverty level or less qualifies for help from EICAP. This program has been this way for years.

This year changes to the policy automatically enrolled anyone who qualifies for food stamps, or makes 133 percent of the poverty line.

The change made administration costs easier, but leaves a gap of coverage for people not on food stamps as the enrollment window grew smaller.

“We ended on Dec. 31 in taking application. That’s about three months quicker than what we’re used to,” said EICAP CEO Jay Doman.

EICAP says other services and help is still available out there, and it’ll work with people to get that assistance.

“People can go to St. Vincent De Paul, they can go to the Salvation Army. Or the best way probably to get help outside of those resources is to call 211 and then make a referral to the Department of Health and Welfare’s Navigations,” said Nick Burrows, Senior & Family Service director, EICAP.

For a list of place that can help you with heating bills and other needs click here.

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