Utility assistance for Hoosiers impacted by COVID-19
State Rep. Steve Davisson
Summer heat is here, with air conditioners running, fans spinning and children standing at the refrigerator looking for a snack. More people in the home during this time leads to higher utility costs. With so many Hoosiers’ budgets feeling the impact of COVID-19, there are several programs to help bridge the gap, including assistance with utility costs. Workers who lost their jobs or experienced a decrease in hours because of the pandemic could be eligible for up to $350 to help cover utilities.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides this one-time benefit for Hoosiers who had to stop working or had their hours cut. On average, the $350 benefit will cover about two months of utility services. Applications are accepted between now and July 31. Hoosiers can call 211 or visit in.gov/ihcda to learn more about eligibility.
Utility service disconnections for gas and electricity were prohibited through June 30, under an executive order by Gov. Eric Holcomb. This order also stopped evictions and foreclosures. Tenants, landlords and property owners are encouraged to work together on past due payments.
According to the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, thousands of Hoosier workers are filing initial unemployment claims. I have received numerous calls about unemployment insurance, and the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development continues to streamline its operations and work through the high-volume of claimants. Those calling about UI benefits are experiencing wait times averaging about 24 minutes. Hoosiers can also check their status at unemployment.in.gov.
This utility assistance is another resource Hoosiers recover from the pandemic. For more information on utility services, programs and financial assistance in Indiana, visit in.gov/oucc.
Editor’s note: State Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, represents House District 73, which includes Washington County and portions of Harrison, Clark, Jackson, Lawrence and Orange counties.