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Help paying cooling bills in Kansas.

The state of Kansas may distribute state and federal utility bill assistance dollars during the summer from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). While funds are not available every year, over the last few summers Kansas has provided this financial aid to customers who qualify, including those who meet LIHEAP guidelines.

While Kansas will try to publicize the program when it is available, this is not always possible. When the grants are available, it will be implemented through the regional community action agencies. The non-profit organizations have outreach offices in every county. So families can contact those offices for an update.

When it is available, the summer cooling bill assistance program will usually run from June through August of every year, and the application period may even start before that. All of the funds will be paid out during that timeframe.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services works closely with the community action agencies. Funding is available to help residents who already receive financial help from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. The best step to take may be to call your local community action agency for additional information. Please note, any grants and funding paid out is very limited and provided on a first-come, first-served basis to those who qualify.

While the application process will vary and can change over time, in general the following information is usually required when applying for summer cooling bill assistance at a community action agency. However it may be best to call or stop by a center in Kansas to confirm. You will need proof of ID, Social Security cards for all household members, proof of residency and income as well. Copies of your utility bills and account information is needed too. Or you can call the Kansas Department of Children and Families (phone (913) 826-7300) or dial 785-296-2500 for the latest details on the program. The program can help people beat the summertime heat.

As indicated, funding can change from year to year. The state says Kansans who received assistance during the winter may be able to qualify for a supplemental benefit of a few hundred dollars for paying a portion of their summer air conditioning and cooling bills. This may be able to help tens of thousands of families every year. Funding and grants for the LIHEAP/Low Income Energy Assistance Program comes from the federal government.




While the low income can apply, it generally helps the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with young children. Other households that have a member with a severe medical condition may be able to qualify. Also, in general, those households that received state financial assistance to pay winter heating bills are automatically eligible for an additional cash subsidy to cover part of summer utility bills. Sometimes the state may be able to refer people to resources that provide free fans or air conditioners as well.

The summer heat and humidity in Kansas can take an incredible, sometimes fatal, toll on our most vulnerable population. So as indicated above, that is why individuals with disabilities, elderly people and families with children are the primary groups assisted under the statewide initiative. The supplemental payment will help beneficiaries of LIHEAP pay their utility bills, keep them safe and comfortable during periods of extreme temperature in Kansas. However others can apply to see if any funding is available to them.

If you are found to be qualified, payments from the state of Kansas and your community action agency will go directly to utility and electric companies rather than individual households. So this payment process in automatic. Recipients of assistance during the winter aren’t required to submit a new application during the summer enrollment period.




By Jon McNamara

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