Energy assistance programs for low income Texans

The Choose Energy Team
By The Choose Energy Team
For business

(July 22, 2020)

Energy assistance programs can help Texans.

Besides food, energy expenses are one of the primary financial concerns for both renters and homeowners. Paying energy bills on time ensures that people have basic necessities such as warm water and lights in their homes. In these times of economic crisis, federal and state governments have increased funding for energy assistance programs to ensure that citizens are able to pay their bills.

Due to these recent expansions, many recently unemployed individuals and low-income workers may be unaware of the programs that are available. Read on to learn more about energy assistance programs in Texas.

Energy assistance is in peak demand

Layoffs from COVID-19 have impacted millions of Americans. Many businesses have also paused hiring new employees until the economy begins to improve. The individuals who are most impacted by the hiring freeze and layoffs are entry-level and low-wage workers, who represent the majority of the American workforce.

Since these positions often interact with consumers, they were the first to be laid off due to stay at home orders and lockdown. With so many entry-level and low-wage employees being laid off, there are millions of Americans who are in dire need of energy assistance. Until the majority of these workers get their jobs back, low-income and unemployed Texans may be unable to pay their utility bills, which could lead to having their power shut off.

Additionally, another result from the spread of COVID-19 is the number of  workers that have been sidelined due to illness. Individuals who contract COVID-19 may take several weeks to a month to recover. This means that these individuals will go without pay during the time they take to recover and the time it takes to get back to work.

State and federal energy assistance programs act as a buffer to help sick Americans get back on their feet and avoid evictions and stoppage of energy services. These options are particularly important in a time when many Americans are facing extraordinary financial circumstances.

What can energy assistance programs help cover?

Bills are one of the primary focus points for assistance programs. With bills, assistance programs take several factors into consideration before announcing how much aid you can get. This includes factors like household income, household size, wider energy crises and more.

Repairs are a second focal point of energy assistance programs. Many residents may be able to pay their energy bills, but expensive issues such as broken air conditioners and HVAC systems are much more complex and costly. Eligible applicants can request assistance for repairs from energy assistance programs. Depending on the program, Texans may be required to verify the equipment is broken, get quotes for repairs and other specific details.

Who is eligible for assistance?

In Texas, residents can be eligible for a variety of federal and state assistance programs. One of the main programs for low income residents is the Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). The CEAP requires applicants to be current Texas residents, which means residents who are new to the state must have Texas documents to prove their eligibility.

Residents who are already enrolled in programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or veteran-based assistance may be automatically eligible for energy assistance. Many of the criteria needed to qualify for CEAP overlap with these programs.

 

Dhoof Mohamed writes about energy and IT topics for various clients. His academic interests include solar energy initiatives and the future of sustainable energy. His articles have appeared on SiteProNews, ChooseFlorida and the office of the U.S. Embassy. You can reach him at dhoof@dhoofmohamed.com.

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