By Patte Smith
Colorado’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that helps eligible hard-working Colorado families, seniors and individuals pay a portion of their winter home heating costs. If you, your family, or someone you are caring for, such as older parents, are struggling financially, you or they may qualify for the home heating assistance program.
Enrollment in LEAP began in November 2018 and will continue through April 30, 2019. In prior years, enrollment was only mail-in, but now the application process is available online.
“With the new online application process, individuals can apply from any device, or they can still visit one of our county locations,” said Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager. “We believe everyone who needs assistance is going to find this is easier, takes less time and overall the whole process is more efficient. For those not comfortable with applying online, applications can still be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county/contractor LEAP office.”
Applications can be accessed through LEAP’s website at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/LEAP, which links to the state’s CO PEAK system for online application, which consolidates resources in one easy-to-use location.
For program eligibility, candidates must pay home heating costs directly to a utility company or landlord as part of their rent, be a permanent legal resident of the United States and Colorado or have a legal U.S. citizen in the household. A family household income cannot surpass 165 percent of the federal poverty index.
Last season, Douglas County approved 522 applications out of the 748 that were submitted. The average benefit per person was $562.69. It is worthwhile to apply to see if you qualify for benefits.
If approved, LEAP payments are usually made directly to the primary heating vendor and a notice is sent to individuals regarding the benefit amount. Last year, approximately 65,000 applications were approved with assistance averaging $337 to $674 across the state.
Other benefits provided by the program include repair or replacement of a home’s primary heating system. To determine the monthly income eligibility according to the household size, visit www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/program-eligibility.
Call Heat Help at 1-866-432-8435 for more information.
Note: Douglas County LEAP information can be found at www.douglas.co.us/community/housing-and-energy-assistance/. At this time the Douglas County LEAP webpage does not include information about applying online, but it does offer important information and facts about LEAP. To apply online for LEAP, visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/LEAP.