Dear Citizens: Low-income Missourians who may need help with payments for their summer cooling bills received good news recently.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) received an additional $15 million in funding that will allow the program to assist more Missourians in need. The increased funding will double the maximum benefit amount to $600 and allow the program to serve the needs of a greater number of Missourians who are now facing a crisis.
The program provided assistance to 114,639 Missouri households during the federal Fiscal Year 2019. To be eligible for the program, low-income Missourians must:
- Be responsible for paying home cooling costs,
- Have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments,
- Have a household income of 135 percent or less of the federal poverty level (a monthly income of $2,400 for a family of three or $2,897 for a family of four) and,
- Be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence.
The acting director of the Missouri Department of Social Services, which oversees the program, said, “More families than ever are struggling with financial hardships and may not have enough resources to pay the electric bill to cool their household and keep food on the table. We are grateful to utility companies for providing temporary relief to Missourians who cannot pay their utility bills; however, this cannot last forever. As we move Missouri’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan forward, we want to make sure Missouri citizens know that LIHEAP may be available to help with cooling costs.”
To apply for the LIHEAP program, households need to complete one application form and then mail or fax the form to the office serving their community listed on the last page of the application. The application can be found online: https://dss.mo.gov/fsd/formsmanual/EA-1-Application-for-the-Low-Income-Home-Energy-Assistance-Program.pdf. Missourians can also call 855-373-4636 Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for more information.
Treasurer Works to Return Unclaimed Property to Missourians: The state currently has more than $1 billion in unclaimed property, and State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is launching his annual effort to return the property to Missouri citizens. There are more than 126,000 individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations with unclaimed property listed in more than 100 publications across the state.
To see a list of papers running unclaimed property lists and publication dates, please visit this link: https://treasurer.mo.gov/pdf/2020TimelineUnclaimedProp.pdf.
Treasurer Fitzpatrick said, “As we recover from the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, I encourage all Missourians to check the unclaimed property list and claim any money that is rightfully yours. And I also encourage Missourians to take a look at the list—and if you see a name you recognize, let them know. It is always free to claim your unclaimed property and many claims can be filed online.”
The treasurer’s office noted that unclaimed property is waiting for 1 in 10 Missourians and the average return is $300. Missourians can search online 24/7 at ShowMeMoney.com.
Our summer office hours at the Capitol are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. My legislative assistant, Jeff, and I are available to assist citizens regarding questions and expediting services. Contact us at 573-751-5388 or e-mail at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov.