5 Places To Find Help With Utilities

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When you’re going through a financial hardship, utility bills can be hard to pay. You’re only allowed a certain amount of extensions of your bill before your service is cut out, and the longer you wait to pay, the more money it will be. That’s why it’s important to seek help as soon as you can, especially as a single parent. Here are five places to turn to for assistance:
  • Your Utility Company Though extensions can be expensive, some utility companies will work with you to either lower your bill or come up with payment arrangements. Contact them and ask if there is any way they can help.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Depending on your income, you may be eligible for assistance with your energy bill through LIHEAP. They help low-income families that are unable to pay for energy. Visit the LIHEAP website to find your state agency’s contact information as well as eligibility requirements.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Sometimes known as welfare, TANF gives financial assistance to struggling families. You can use the assistance for a variety of living expenses, including utility bills. Like LIHEAP, assistance is based on income and requirements vary by state. To find program information for your state, visit the TANF page on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
  • Charities and Nonprofits Many charities such as The Salvation Army and Catholic Charities provide help to families in need. Charity Navigator can help you find additional organizations that could help you pay your utility bills.
  • 2-1-1  2-1-1 connects people facing hardship to local assistance. You can either visit their website or call the hotline to get help. The line is open 24/7 so you can call at any time. They are especially helpful when looking for region-specific assistance.
Because you are supporting a family on your own, it may be easier for you to qualify for utility assistance. Be sure to have proof of income, as well as copies of the bills you need help with. Most programs will ask for these documents so it’s best to have them ready.

By Alecia Stanton of Single Parents Alliance of America
Find more Articles, Resources, and Benefits for Parents at SPAOA.org

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