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Danbury Agency Accepting Energy Assistance Requests; Newtown To Follow Suit Soon



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DANBURY — The Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut (CAAWC) is now accepting energy assistance applications for the 2020-21 heating season. Newtown’s Human Services office will also be taking similar applications by month’s end.

Newtown Human Services Director Natalie Jackson told The Newtown Bee that interested qualified applicants who have all the necessary documentation prepared can begin the application process with CAAWC as of August 3, while her office will begin taking those applications August 31.

Connecticut residents who need assistance paying heir utility bills and primary heating costs can apply for energy assistance through the Danbury CAA. CAAs are the only nonprofit agencies administering the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides home heating assistance to the state’s most financially vulnerable residents.

In Connecticut this program is called the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and is housed under the Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS receives federal funding from US Department of Health and Human Services, and allocates the funds to the state’s CAAs, which administer the program locally in all 169 cities and towns.

Due to COVID-19, applications for energy assistance are being completed by phone. CAAs may begin taking in-person applications during the season, however.

Jackson said once Newtown begins taking applications, her office will employ a lockbox, e-mail, and phone contacts for assistance and the delivery of completed paperwork.

Customers should contact their local CAA directly for application instructions and required documentation. For residents of the greater Danbury area, the telephone number is 203-357-0720.

Homeowners and/or renters may apply, and program eligibility is determined by total household gross income. Energy assistance funds can be used to pay for whatever primary source of heating residents have in their homes.

This includes oil, natural gas, electricity, propane, kerosene, coal, wood, and wood pellets.

Regional CAA Executive Director Michelle James previously told The Bee that applicants can avoid processing delays by ensuring all required documentation is included. She said among the most frequently missing or incomplete pieces of documentation are those related to income, assets, and bank accounts.

“Anyone 18 and over, we need to verify income,” James said. “That means we need pay stubs for the four weeks prior to date of their application.”

In addition, she said anyone 18 and over who has zero income must complete a separate zero-income form.

“Regarding assets, we need to see all the most recent bank statements within 30 days of application. That means all bank accounts — checking, savings, CDs, stocks, bonds. The only thing we don’t look at is 401k information,” James said.

The CAA staff also must receive copies of all electric bills, even if the applicant is heating with other fuels. “We need to get a full picture of their energy burden,” James said.

Failure to supply all the required documentation could delay processing or force an applicant to reapply at a later date, she added.

Residents are reminded that applying for and receiving energy assistance also serves as a pre-qualifier for several other seasonal assistance programs.

To reach Newtown Human Services, call 203-270-4330.

Community Action Agencies are the only nonprofit agencies administering the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides home heating assistance to the state’s most financially vulnerable residents.
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