ATLANTA — Unlike in previous years, the Energy Assistance Program administered by the Georgia  Division of Family and Children Services will not be available until after Dec. 1, a month later than usual.
The  federally-funded program assists low-income, elderly and disabled Georgians with heating bills  through direct payments to home energy suppliers.
After Dec. 1, residents aged 65 and older or who are homebound can apply for assistance through the  Department’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
All other eligible families  may apply for assistance after Jan. 1, 2016. Funds are administered through local Community Action  Agencies on a first-come, first-served basis or until all funds are exhausted.
Last year, the LIHEAP program spent more than $55 million to assist over 163,000 clients with their  heating bills. Depending on income and household size, those who qualified for the program received  between $310 and $350 toward their home heating bills.
To qualify, a family’s annual income must be less than or equal to 60 percent of the median income  for a Georgia family. For a household of one, the income threshold is $21,029; the income threshold  for a household of five is $46,912.
Those seeking assistance must contact their local Community Action Agencies.
All applicants will be  asked to provide their most recent heating bill or statement of service from their heating providers, as  well as the following information on every member of their household: social security numbers, proof  of citizenship and proof of income for the last 30 days.
Proof of income can include, but is not limited  to, a paycheck stub, a letter granting public assistance, Social Security or unemployment benefits.
All  applicants will be required to sign a consent to release information form allowing the state to retrieve  energy usage data from their energy provider and to provide proof of bill payment.
For more information on the program, contact Division of Family and Children Services, LIHEAP toll  free at 1-877-423-4746.
To find the Community Action Agency in a specific area, visit