We all have bills to pay every month. With the low economy and recession in today’s world, most of us could use extra help. Electricity and gas are necessary for heating, cooking, daily cleaning and bathing. Telephones are a must for most of us too, especially the disabled.
Water and rent are necessities. We need water to clean the house, take baths or showers, and for drinking. Rent is a necessity since we need a roof over our head. Good thing there is help for the things we really need to get by. Here is how to get the help you need.
If your employer cuts your hours or if you are unemployed or disabled and you don’t know what to do, then you need to start checking into a few resources in your own area. For my husband and I, we have the Community Action Council, Department of Job and Family Services and a few churches to help with some of our bills when we need it. Not to mention there is also help with food such as the Department of Job and Family Services, churches, and food pantries.
Getting Help Paying Electric, Gas, Rent, and Water
If you get a disconnect notice on your electric or gas you should call your local Community Action Council. Once a year, usually in winter months, the Community Action Council will pay your electric and/or gas if you need help with it. The Community Action Council will also put you and your family on a PIP, or Percentage Income Plan. When they place you on PIP, they go by your total income for your household. This means, depending on your income, you will only have to pay a percentage of what you would normally pay for your electricity or gas. If you are on disability or Social Security Income, your monthly payments for your electric or gas will be lowered also.
The Community Action Council will also sign you up for HEAP, or the Home Energy Assistance Program. When they put you on HEAP, they will also send a certain amount of money to your electric or gas company to help pay for a few months. Depending on whether or not you have a back bill you owe on your electric or gas, this can save you from having to pay an electric or gas bill for a few months. If you do owe a back bill, that money from HEAP will go towards your back bill to help pay it off.
The Community Action Council can also help pay your water bill and your rent if you have low income and/or a disconnect notice or an eviction notice.
Local churches may be able to help pay your electric and gas too. Where my husband and I live, the local Catholic Church Diocese helps low-income families with electric and gas if they have the funds. They may also help with water and rent.
Another resource to help keep your electric from being disconnected if you are disabled is your doctor. If you are on any kind of breathing machine, heart monitor, oxygen, or other kind of medical device, ask your doctor for a paper saying you need electricity to keep your machines running. Send this letter into your electric company and they cannot disconnect you if you are late in paying your bill.
Getting Help with Your Telephone Bill
I really don’t know of any organizations that help pay your phone bill. However, if you are disabled and a telephone is truly a necessity, your local telephone company may have a resource allowing you to only pay the minimum amount due. There is a program with Verizon called Life Line. Life Line will help the disabled keep their phone on by only having the basic telephone service. Basic phone service is local calling with nothing extra added such as caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, long distance, and any other extras that are not necessary. Ask your telephone company if they offer a service such as Life Line. With Life Line, your phone cannot be shut off if you can’t pay the bill and the monthly payment will be lower than anyone else who is not disabled or on Life Line.
Getting Help with Food
If you are struggling to feed your family in this low economic time, you may want to go to your local Department of Job and Family Services. They can give you food stamps every month as long as you are eligible. Other places to get help with food are churches and food pantries.
How to Find Places to Help with Utilities and Food
If you are struggling to pay your bills and feed your family and you don’t know where to turn, call your local Community Action Council and your local Department of Job and Family Services. They will either ask you to come in so they can help you or they will give you phone numbers for other place to help. Don’t forget to call any and all churches and food pantries until you find one that is local and can help you.
You can also do a search on the internet for places to help pay your utilities and provide your family with food. There are many resources out there to help your family, you just need to know where and how to find them.
How to Prove You Are Eligible
When going to places like the Community Action Council, Department of Job and Family Services, churches, and food pantries, you will need a few things to prove you are eligible. These things may include driver’s license or picture ID’s for everyone in the household, birth certificates for everyone, social security cards for everyone, proof of income for everyone in the household over 18, and your utility bills. Just to be sure you have everything before your visit, call ahead and ask what you will need to get help with your bills and food.
Many of us are in need of a little extra help sometimes. These resources can help your family if you are struggling to make ends meet.
Community Action Council
Department of Job and Family Services- http://jfs.ohio.gov/