Q:

How do you qualify for payment assistance on your utility bills?

A:

Quick Answer

Qualification for payment assistance on utility bills varies depending on the bill and the payment assistance program, but the standard requirement is a household income at or below a set threshold, as of 2015. For some payment assistance programs, enrollment in another assistance program, such as Medicaid or Food Stamps, automatically qualifies that household for payment assistance on utility bills.

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Full Answer

The income requirement varies by program and is typically based on the federal government's poverty guidelines. For example, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio offers a Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus that requires an income at or below 150 percent of those federal poverty guidelines. SoCalGas offers a California Alternate Rates for Energy program that requires an income at or below 200 percent of those guidelines. Programs for lower income thresholds usually provide larger discounts. The federal poverty guidelines have varying amounts based on the size of the household.

If you qualify for a program, you must submit an application to the organization that offers the program. The application process varies, but standard methods include calling the organization or filling out a form and mailing it to the organization. The organization may require proof of income for the last 12 months, although you can sometimes use shorter time periods.

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