RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The state Department of Health and Human Services says you have two choices if you need help with your heating bills.

NCDHHS said households can apply for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program or the Crisis Intervention Program through the ePASS portal — epass.nc.gov — or by sending a paper application by mail, fax or by dropping it off at a Department of Social Services if you need help with heating bills.

“We know many of our neighbors are still dealing with economic hardships due to the impacts of COVID-19, but assistance for heating bills is available to help keep people and families safe and warm as the weather gets colder,” Carla West said, the NCDHHS senior director for economic security.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program provides eligible households with a one-time vendor payment to help with their heating bills. 

In order to qualify, at least one person in those households must meet three criteria:

— Either 60 or older or has a disability and receives services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services;

— Currently receives food and nutrition services;

— Received LIEAP in 2020-21.

Those households also must have income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty limit, have no more than $2,250 in savings and checking accounts and cash on hand and be responsible for their heating costs.

Applications will be accepted until March 31 or until the program runs out of money.

The year-round Crisis Intervention Program, that helps people facing a heating or cooling crisis — meaning they face either a health-related emergency or the possibility of one, and can’t get help from anyone else.

To be eligible, a household must have one person who meets the eligibility criteria, have income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty limit, have an energy-related crisis and have a heating bill that shows how much money is owed.

You can find out more about those programs here and here.