By | December 31, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has announced beginning January 4th, 2021, households can apply for the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) online at www.epass.nc.gov. This helps make it easy and convenient to apply for these programs in a safe and socially distance way.
In addition to ePASS, Rutherford County DSS offers several other safe options to apply. Applications can be made by telephone by calling the Energy Line at 828-287-1248. A telephonic signature will be utilized so no visit to the agency is necessary. Due to higher than normal call volumes during this time, consumers may be prompted to leave a message. Calls will be returned within 24 hours to begin the application process.

An interactive application is available on the DSS web site and can be emailed to Energy@rutherfordcountync.gov or faxed to (828) 287-6350. To access the online information and application go to www.rutherfordcountync.gov, click departments and select Social Services, click the link at the stop of the home page, and scroll down on this page to locate information about the Energy Programs.

Applications are also available for pick up at DSS, or a request to have one mailed can be made by calling the Energy Line at 828-287-1248. For those that wish to drop off an application in person, a drop box, accessible 24 hours a day, is located at the entrance of the DSS lobby at the lower level of Building C. Any completed application can be emailed, faxed, or dropped off at DSS.

“We have been pleased to see that many people have applied without having to come to the office, or if they do, only being here for a short time. We have seen few people in our lobby at one time, which is much different than in years past,” said John Carroll, Rutherford County DSS Director. “We strongly encourage families to take advantage of all the ways to apply for the energy programs.”

To be eligible for the CIP program, a household must:
• Be in an immediate and life threatening heating or cooling related crisis. Heating assistance includes electricity, wood, coal, fuel oil, kerosene, or gas.
• Have a past due notice from the vendor of their heating source or have 10% or less gas in their tank, or 15 inches or less of fuel oil or kerosene, or have a limited supply of wood or kerosene for portable heaters. Benefits may vary based upon the amount needed to alleviate the crisis. An eligible household may receive assistance more than one time during the State Fiscal Year (July through June); however, the maximum benefit cannot exceed $600 per fiscal year.
• To qualify households must have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level, contain a US Citizen or eligible alien, and must be in a heating or cooling related crisis. • All Household income must be verified by pay stubs or some other means through an employer. If a person is receiving other services administered by the Department of Social Services where income was verified that can be used in some cases. However, applicants may need to provide verification of at least one-month’s income. This will help ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible.
Crisis Intervention applications will be accepted until June 30, 2021 or until funds are exhausted. To be eligible for the LIEAP program, a household must:
• Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria • Have income equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty limit
• Have resources, such as saving and checking accounts and cash on hand, at or below$2,250 • Be responsible for their heating cost
• All Household income must be verified by pay stubs or some other means through an employer. If a person is receiving other services administered by the Department of Social Services where income was verified that can be used in some cases. However, applicants may need to provide verification of at least one-month’s income. This will help ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible.

LIEAP applications will be accepted from Jan. 4, 2021 to March 31, 2021 or until funds are exhausted.

For more information on the energy programs and eligibility, visit the CIP and LIEAP websites. https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/crisis-intervention program https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/low-income-energy assistance, visit the county web site at www.rutherfordcountync.gov following the instructions above or call the Energy Line at 828-287-1248.