There’s not much time left for low-income Michigan families to apply for a credit that can ease the burden of their winter utility bills.
Applications are being accepted for the Michigan Home Heating Credit until Sept. 30 for the 2017 filing season.
Brian Wheeler, a spokesman for Consumers Energy, explains that in a typical winter, as many as 1-in-5 families struggle at some point to make their monthly gas bills.
“Whether you’re using natural gas or propane or burning wood, there are expenses that you use to heat your home through those cold Michigan winters,” he points out. “The Home Heating Credit helps to reimburse families in need to help with those expenses and help take a bite out of those winter heating costs.”
Wheeler says Consumers Energy is getting the word out because there are potentially thousands of eligible Michiganders who could miss out if they don’t apply.
And he notes the deadline is a Sunday, so folks should ensure the application is postmarked Sept. 30.
Last year the average assistance was about $160.
To be eligible, families must be at 110 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is about $27,000 annually for a family of four.
The credit is the only heating assistance that does not require a customer to fall behind on utility bill payments.
Wheeler says folks should not be reluctant to ask for help.
“If people can really reach out as soon as they see the need for assistance, maybe they’ve lost a job, maybe someone’s been sick in their household, maybe some circumstances have changed,” he explains. “If you can reach out sooner for assistance, you really can stay on top of things and not be in a bad situation.”
Eligible utility customers can be homeowners or renters who pay heating costs. They do not need to have filed a state income tax return to receive the credit. More information is available by calling 211.