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Kansans to get help paying high utility cooling bills
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TOPEKA – SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki announced Monday that low income Kansans will have a little extra help paying their high utility bills this summer thanks to the Low Income Energy Assistance Program.
 “This added assistance will go to help the most neediest families stay cool during the summer months when the Kansas weather can get dangerously hot,” said SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program provides an annual benefit to help qualifying households pay winter heating bills. This year, there was some money left over in  he LIEAP fund, said Rachel Whitten, SRS spokesperson.
So, funding is available to provide an additional benefit to those households for energy costs incurred during the heat of summer.  Individuals that applied and received a benefit during the regular winter application period (January thr5ough March of  this year) will automatically be issued a supplemental benefit of approximately $296, bringing the average benefit for the year to over $550. The program primarily assists individuals with disabilities, elderly persons, and families with children.  In the winter of 2011, nearly 62,000 households received an average benefit of $263.
There are no new applications being taken at this time, Whitten said. There will be the regular winter sign-up period starting in January, 2012.
“The summer heat can take an incredible, sometimes even fatal, toll on our most vulnerable populations – the elderly, disabled and struggling families,” said Governor Sam Brownback. “This extra assistance will not only help these folks pay their bills, but it will keep more Kansans safe, and out of extreme temperatures.”
Funding for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.