News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Monday is the day needy Oklahomans may start applying for help paying their air-conditioning bills through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The effort is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

About 50,000 low-income Oklahomans are expected to apply this year.

"We have $12 million for cooling assistance this year which is an increase from last year," said Beth Scott, with Oklahoma DHS.

Besides an increase in the amount of money for assistance, income levels are higher so more Oklahomans are eligible.  

"This time of the year the bills go up pretty high, especially the air costs," said Earnestine Nann, who needs cooling assistance.

The assistance is first come first serve until the money runs out. DHS is not sure how long the money will last, but when it does run out and if you have a cut off notice, you can apply for DHS crisis assistance.

DHS will use four main criteria to determine eligibility for assistance:

  • The number of people in your household;
  • Verification that you pay your heating expense (provide a current heating bill);
  • Your household income does not exceed 110 percent of the federal poverty guidelines; and
  • The household's liquid (cash) resources do not exceed $2,000 for one person; $3,000 for two persons -- add $50 for each additional person in the household.

For more information on requirements or to apply for assistance, visit DHS's Web site.

The Salvation Army also offers utlity assistance. For more information call (405) 246-1100.