Washington Cost-Cutting Could Leave NJ Families In The Cold

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STATE – Funding for New Jersey’s largest energy assistance program, the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), could be on the chopping block as a result of Congress’ failure to agree on a deficit reduction plan, New Jersey Policy Perspective reports.

Unless Congress takes action within the next two weeks, funding will be slashed by nearly two thirds this winter – from $189 million in FY2011 to $72 million in FY2012 – even as home heating oil is expected to get more expensive. More cuts would be made in future budget years.

To qualify for the LIHEAP program, the applicant household must have a gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. A single person must have a monthly gross income of $1,815 or less; a family of four could have a maximum monthly gross income of $3,725.

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