Get Help Paying Your Utility Bills and Providing Food for
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
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.
Who can qualify and How to Prove You Are Eligible
While every program is different, 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.
Getting Help Paying Electric, Gas, Rent, and Water
If you get a disconnect notice on your electric or gas, contact your provider before service is cut off. At the first sign that you might not be able to pay your heating or electricity bill, contact the service provider and start a dialogue directly with the company. Most utility providers will work with you, whether it's to delay payment or forgo the late fee. If this fails, or its too late, you should call your local government. Once a year, usually in winter months, some agencies will pay your electric and/or gas if you need help with it. The provider may 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.
Here are some links to get you started:
Has national programs to help with Electric bills.
gasbillhelp.com - Has
programs to assist with gas bills.
Some programs can also help pay your water bill if you have low income and/or a disconnect notice.
PHPRS.INFO - Has programs
to help with water bills
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
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.
Has programs to assist low income families with phone bills.
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.
RECM.INFO - Has national
online food stamp search tool (use search tool on left)
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.