Pennsylvania is extending the deadline for heating assistance to those in need. But it’s unlikely there will be an extension next year if proposed cuts are implemented.
As of last week, Pennsylvania had only given out 69 percent of its LIHEAP allocation, leaving the state Department of Public Welfare with $84 million in assistance funds.
Department Spokesman Michael Race says eligible Pennsylvanians should apply, because the state won’t get to keep any leftover money.
“Any money remaining essentially reverts to the federal government, so it’s to our advantage to use the funding that is provided. If it is not used, then it remains with the federal government,” Race said.
Dealing with a surplus in energy assistance may be a short-lived luxury. President Obama has proposed cutting LIHEAP funds in half for next year’s federal budget. Philadelphia Gas Works Spokesman Cameron Kline says that would be bad for the region.
“There would be less money in the pot for Philadelphia, there would be less money in our economy, and it’s something that we’re concerned about,” Kline said. “It is something that we’re all watching.”
Delaware has spent about 75 percent of its LIHEAP funds, but it also set some aside for a summer program helping people afford electricity in summer months.