Low-income families struggling to pay their home heating bills this winter can now apply for heating assistance online, according to state Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny). Pennsylvanians can download the LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) application by visiting Senator Fontana’s Web site, www.senatorfontana.com, and click on the LIHEAP Application link.

“With colder weather looming, I fear for senior citizens and families who cannot afford to pay ever-escalating heating bills,” Fontana said. “I urge low-income families to see if they qualify for LIHEAP assistance.”

LIHEAP provides home heating energy grants through the Department of Public Welfare in order to help low-income families pay their heating bills. Eligibility is based on household size, type of fuel and income.

LIHEAP will provide up to $300 annually to eligible applicants in cash payments made directly to the client’s fuel vendor. Fontana said both homeowners and renters are eligible for the program, regardless of the method used to heat their residences.

In addition to cash grants for heating bills, LIHEAP also provides crisis grants of up to $300 for those in danger of being without heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of service.