Osceola County seniors experiencing an energy crisis – whether due to the summer heat, rising costs or other factors – have until Sept. 30 to apply for up to $5,000 of energy bill assistance. The Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program (EHEAP), which is 100% federally funded through a grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, helps qualifying seniors pay energy bills in an emergency.
Senior Resource Alliance (SRA), Central Florida’s Area Agency on Aging, oversees EHEAP applications and the distribution of funds. Since August 2021, SRA has distributed nearly $600,000 in energy bill assistance to households in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Brevard Counties.
“The summer months provide a particular challenge to seniors because hotter temperatures mean higher than usual energy bills,” said Karla Radka, President and CEO of SRA. “With the additional burden of inflation, it is more important than ever that seniors know there is help available if they need it.”
Qualifications for EHEAP eligibility in Central Florida include:
- Applicants must be age 60 or older and reside in a home located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola or Brevard County.
- Proof of residence, such as a driver’s license or other identification. (The energy bill does not need to be in the elder’s name.)
- Applicant must be experiencing a home energy crisis, such as disconnection, delinquency or past due bills.
- Applicants are “categorically eligible” if they can provide proof of TANF, SSI or SNAP benefits, such as an award letter, in addition to documentation of total household income.
In addition to financial assistance with energy bills, EHEAP funds can be used for purchasing summer necessities, such as portable fans and window air conditioners. Benefits can also be used for repairs to an existing heating/cooling unit, deposits to connect or restore energy, late fees and disconnect/reconnect fees, as well as other energy-related actions.
EHEAP applications are being processed directly by three SRA partner agencies: Osceola Council on Aging in Osceola and Orange counties. Those interested in applying should contact the Osceola Council on Aging at (407) 846-8532. For more information about SRA and its services, please visit SeniorResourceAlliance.org.