New, Innovative Auto-Enrollment Process Brings Energy Assistance to Tens of Thousands of Additional Low-Income NJ Seniors
Trenton, NJ: AARP New Jersey today applauded Governor Jon S. Corzine and his administration for their leadership in significantly expanding the distribution of energy assistance benefits to low-income elderly New Jersey households. By our State’s actions in raising the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) maximum income levels to match that of the State’s PAAD/Lifeline program, approximately 50,000 additional low-income NJ families are receiving assistance.
“Governor Corzine demonstrated his commitment to focus on the energy assistance need of New Jersey’s most vulnerable older citizens,” said AARP New Jersey Senior State Director Jim Dieterle. “Energy costs continue to pose serious affordability challenges, particularly in this difficult economic climate; AARP commends our State’s efforts to combat this growing problem.”
AARP worked closely with the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to streamline the enrollment process. Residents who were enrolled in PAAD, the state’s prescription drug program, and the Lifeline Utility Assistance Program were automatically enrolled in LIHEAP. Many have also been automatically enrolled in the Universal Service Fund (USF).
“AARP worked with our state partners to make this a reality,” said Dieterle. “In the past, the vast majority of New Jerseyans 50 and older who could have received heating assistance had not even applied partly because of an arduous application process. The new system of auto-enrollment helped thousands of households across the state this past heating season. AARP thanks the Governor, DHSS, DCA, and the BPU for their collaborative efforts that have resulted in one of the best, if not the best, low-income energy assistance programs in the nation.”