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DENVER (KDVR) — The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) helped 77,500 households last year with heating bill expenses. The 2021-2022 application process opened on Nov. 1.

To qualify for assistance, a household’s monthly income must fall within 60% of the state median income level, $64,000 a year for a family of four.

“Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows heating bills increasing this winter between six and 54 percent depending on the heating source,” says Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager. “LEAP can help Coloradans by offsetting these increased costs. We encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply and take advantage of LEAP’s many benefits.”

Applicants must pay home heating costs directly to a utility company or landlord. The home must include a Colorado resident and at least one U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.

LEAP makes a one-time payment directly to the utility company for eligible households. The average benefit for the 2020-2021 program was $550.25.

Applications and assistance are available through April 30.

Other benefits can include repairs or replacement of a home’s primary heating system and weatherization services. Information about the application process, eligibility or the LEAP program is available online.

The American Rescue Plan offers two temporary programs for LEAP recipients:

  • The Utility Assistance Program provides funds to assist with paying down past-due accounts for a home’s primary heating source and supportive fuel while funding is available.
  • The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program serves eligible Colorado households who pay a water vendor directly and whose account is either in arrears or shut off. It provides funds to make a one-time payment to the water vendor directly on behalf of eligible households as long as funding is available.