Maine has received an additional $4,949,580 for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, it was announced on Wednesday.

Senator Susan Collins Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald file

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, vice chair of the Appropriations Committee and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden said in a joint release that the money represents the remainder of the LIHEAP funding that was secured by Collins, Golden and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed in the 2023 government funding bill that was signed into law in December.

The $4,949,580 awarded to Maine on Wednesday is in addition to both the $42.5 million that was allocated to the state in November and the $6,531,152 that was released in February. In total, Maine has received nearly $54 million this winter season through LIHEAP to help eligible households facing significant increases in their utility bills this winter, with residential electricity prices in some states forecast to rise over 60 percent, propane up 40 percent, and natural gas prices up nearly 30 percent.

“As Mainers dig out from yet another significant snowstorm this week, the release of this heating assistance is well-timed to help low-income families and seniors who are facing enormous financial challenges to stay warm this winter,” Collins wrote in the release. “As the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advocate for this much-needed funding to help prevent vulnerable Mainers from having to make the impossible choice between paying for heat and paying for food or medicine.”

Maine U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in Lewiston in October. Steve Collins/Sun Journal file

“Energy prices in Maine and across the country have remained far too high for far too long, and some of the heaviest burdens have fallen on our seniors, friends and neighbors on fixed incomes, and other Mainers in need,” according to Golden. “As any Mainer knows, this winter is not over. This critical funding will provide relief to families in Maine struggling to heat their homes through this last cold stretch. I’m committed to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House and the Senate to secure the resources needed to keep every Maine home heated at a reasonable cost.”

LIHEAP is administered by states and accessed through local Community Action Agencies.  Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.  Senior citizens and those receiving Social Security Disability or SSI benefits are encouraged to apply as early as possible, but applications will be open to everyone through spring of 2023 — or until available funding is exhausted.  More information on how to apply can be found HERE.

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