Fuel assistance program applications available

The application period for the fuel assistance program run by the South Shore Community Action Council (SSCAC) has begun. The program provides low-income households with help paying home heating bills and avoiding utility shutoffs, according to a press release. The Fuel Assistance program begins on November 1.

Eligibility is based on gross income and household size. For example, for a household of one person, the maximum allowed income is $32,065; two people, $41,932; three people, $51,798; and four people, $61,664.

Eligibility for fuel assistance may also provide 12 months of discounts on electric, natural gas, and telephone bills, as well as free weatherization and heating system repair.

Applicants age 60 and older may submit an application by appointment with their local Councils on Aging (COA): Edgartown, 508-627-4368; Oak Bluffs, 508-693-4509; Tisbury, 508-696-4205; Up-Island, 508-693-2896; and Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), 508-645-9265.

Applicants under age 60 may schedule an appointment to fill out an application with Susan Von Steiger at the Oak Bluffs COA.

New applicants must bring proof of income for the past 30 days for all household members over 18, photo identification, and proof of street address. Households who have used the same primary heat source for at least 12 months should bring copies of their heating bills for the 12 months prior to applying, which may result in a higher Fuel Assistance benefit level.

Applicants who are completely out of fuel or whose utilities have been cut off must supply all income and other information and documentation at the time of application in order to receive emergency assistance.

Additional information is available from the SSCAC by calling 1-508-746-6707 or online at sscac.org.