Residents are being encouraged to apply online for help covering winter heating costs.
Applying online for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will be an easier and faster process than filling out a paper application, said Carey Miller, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Welfare.
People who apply online can start the process before the LIHEAP opens for paper applications on Thursday, Nov. 1, Miller said.
LIHEAP clients who applied online last year will receive a postcard with a barcode they can use at www.compass.state.pa.us, where they can enter the numbers to find the information saved from their 2011 filing.
"Those who don't have computer access can go to their county assistance office, and the case worker can help them," Miller said.
Miller suggested that people who don't have computers at home and don't need help applying online use computers at local libraries or community centers to apply for LIHEAP.
Cost savings: The department of public welfare will save about $75,000 in mail and hand processing time for paper applications, Miller said.
Each year, 392,349 Pennsylvanians receive heating assistance through LIHEAP, which received $209 million to help families during the upcoming winter season, Miller said.
The number of people helped through LIHEAP depends on how cold the weather gets, she said.
"If we get a cold snap, that may generate more people coming forward and needing the assistance," Miller said. "We do ask that (residents) apply before a cold streak hits."
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.