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LEAP benefits increase for those who qualify

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) has announced that Coloradans who qualify for LEAP will receive additional cash assistance to help pay winter home heating costs.

LEAP applications will be accepted through April 30.

LEAP is a federally-funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty index, which equals a maximum income of $3,400 per month before taxes for a household of four people.

The 2009-2010 season payment increase will raise LEAP benefits by 15 percent, increasing the average LEAP benefit by approximately $150. The new minimum payment an eligible household could receive is $402 and the maximum is $1,000.

As of April 13, LEAP estimated it would help about 128,000 households during the 2009-2010 year. That is a 21-percent increase from households who received assistance last year.

Completed LEAP applications can be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county office. Potential program applicants can apply several ways:

Call (866) 432-8435 to have an application mailed to your home.

Visit the Archuleta County Department of Human Services office at Town Hall to obtain an application and information or download and print an application from www.cdhs.state.co.us/leap.

To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call toll free (866) 432-8435 or visit www.cdhs.state.co.us/leap to view the most current program application requirements.