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Universal Service Fund Program & Home Energy Assistance Program Overview. Funding Source for the USF Program. The USF program was created by the NJ Board of Public Utilities to help low income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs Societal Benefit Fund – Rate payers.

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Universal service fund program home energy assistance program overview

Universal Service Fund Program & Home Energy Assistance Program Overview


Funding source for the usf program
Funding Source for the USF Program

  • The USF program was created by the NJ Board of Public Utilities to help low income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs

  • Societal Benefit Fund – Rate payers


What criteria are used to establish benefit eligibility and amount universal service fund
What criteria are used to establish benefit eligibility and amount?Universal Service Fund

  • Eligibility

    • Annual energy burden ( how much is spent in electric and gas)

    • Household income = or < 175% of FPL

    • Head of household or spouse name on utility bill

  • Monthly Benefits are calculated

    • Household energy burden exceeds 3% of Household annual income for Gas expense and 3% for Electric

    • Benefits from HEA and Lifeline are subtracted


Universal service fund
Universal Service Fund

  • Only seven large Gas & Electric Utility companies regulated by BPU can participate

  • Electronic data Transfers between USFHEA system and the utilities

    (Send & Receive Process)


How usf benefits are paid
How USF benefits are paid

  • USF benefits are paid as a monthly direct credit to the utility account

  • Maximum USF benefit monthly of $150, combined gas and electric, up to $1,800 a year

  • Fresh Start Component – Handled between BPU and Utility company


Funding source for the home energy assistance program
Funding Source for the Home Energy Assistance Program

  • US Department of Health & Human Services

  • Fiscal year 2013 was $125 Million

  • Last year allocation $138,000Million

  • Year 2014?


What criteria are used to establish benefit eligibility and amount h e a
What criteria are used to establish benefit eligibility and amount?H E A

  • Eligibility

    • Household size

    • Household income = or < than 200% FPL

    • Applicant or household member must be responsible for heating payments


What criteria are used to establish benefit eligibility and amount h e a1
What criteria are used to establish benefit eligibility and amount?H E A

  • Benefit amount

    • Household income

    • Size

    • Fuel type

    • Region in NJ

  • Cooling

    • Meet income guidelines for HEA

    • Doctor’s note


How is the information acquired electronic file transfer from dhs famis
How is the information acquired?Electronic File Transfer from DHS - FAMIS

  • SNAP (Food Stamp) application

  • Eligible for SNAP (food stamp) program

  • Electronic file transfer from FAMIS to USF/HEA System


How is the information acquired electronic file transfer from hs paad
How is the information acquired?Electronic File Transfer from HS - PAAD

  • Any PAAD recipient is categorically eligible to receive HEA and to be processed for USF

  • This year around 85,000 PAAD files were processed


Usfhea recertification paper applications cap cbo offices
USFHEA Recertification & Paper Applications- CAP/CBO Offices

  • Home Energy Assistance – Universal Service Fund and Weatherization Program Applications

    CAP/CBO agency staff enters information

    Verifications provided by client

  • Recertification Process –

    Only clients who submitted an application and received benefit the previous year will receive a recertification

    Did not go through the Portability Process

    DFD or HSS Auto process not eligible to receive recertification

  • Clients who received a cooling benefit the previous year will automatically receive benefits thorough the recertification process (DCA & DFD)

    HSS Clients have to reapply


When are applications accepted
When are applications accepted?

USF

Any time during the year

Applicant must reapply each year

HEA

October 1st to April 30

Applicant must reapply each year

Cooling – automatic recertification – Credits will be sent to an active electric account


What happens if an applicant is found ineligible
What happens if an applicant is found ineligible?

  • Notices are sent

    • Explaining the reason for the determination

    • Advising applicants to contact their local CAP agencies or local community based organization


Maximum hea benefit amount per household per year
Maximum HEA benefit amount per household per year


How are benefits paid
How are benefits paid?

USF

12 monthly credits to utility bills

HEA

One payment per heating season

Credit to the utility

Two-party check

One-party check to “renters”

Cooling

Credit to electric account or one party check to the client issued in the month of May of every season


What emergency benefits can hea provide
What Emergency Benefits can HEA provide?

Deliverable Fuels

  • EA period starts after first regular HEA payment

  • Emergency benefit for a fuel delivery if

    • Client brings a statement certifying fuel has run out

    • Local CAP/CBO agency verifies lack of fuel

      Gas/Electric

  • Emergency benefit to cancel pending service interruption

    • Shutoff notice to the CAP/CBO

    • No emergency payments before March 16th


More about emergency benefits
More about Emergency Benefits…

  • Clients who do not paid directly for heating costs are not eligible for emergency fuel benefits

  • Maximum of $450 (at the discretion of administrator)

  • Heater repairs up to $1,000.00 per year (does not count against the $2000 benefit limit)


Verifications required original application
Verifications Required - Original Application

  • Income – all income received by any household member over the age of 18 years of age is counted, excluding income from full time students

  • Social Security Number – All SS# must be verified by providing a copy of SS card, letter from SS Administration or Social Service Agency

  • HLA – a full copy of the most current utility bill

  • Residency – owners - copy of property tax bill or mortgage; renters – copy of the rental lease


Verifications required recertificatio n
Verifications Required - Recertification

  • Current Household Income

  • Current Utility bills

  • Verifications for new HH members

  • Document (s) verifying that a member is no longer in the HH


Intake process
Intake Process

  • Intakes must be created for every application or recertification to be processed.

  • Intake counts are used by DCA to track the Agency effort as well as the number of applications in back log.


Processing applications general rules
Processing Applications - General rules

  • Applications are to be processed by the order of arrival at the agency

  • They must be post marked, this mark will function as the Application date

  • Refrain from making markings or comments on the clients‘ applications

  • Information entered in the system should be the same found on the application, especially income information