This article originally appeared in the Rutland Herald.
We encourage you to share it, but please include the above credit when forwarding, sharing or reprinting in other newspapers or newsletters.
Fuel and Food Assistance
Now that the leaves are changing and the nights are getting colder comes the fear of “how am I going to heat my home for the winter months?” Last winter was a cold and snowy one and, if the Farmers Almanac is right this one will be just as brutal. Vermont has a Fuel Assistance Program to help pay for heat. The good news is; on the same form you can apply for 3SquaresVT and receive help paying for food as well.
Qualifying for Vermont Home Heating Assistance has become easier. The gross monthly income limit for seniors, is $1,801 for a household of one, and $2,426 for a household of two. Unlike past years, there is now no resource limits. To get 100% or the maximum amount of heating assistance for which you might qualify, apply before October 31. The last day of February 2015 is the last day to apply.
3SquaresVT is a nutrition program of the USDA that boosts your food budget to help you stay healthy and independent. Originally called the Food Stamp program, it has changed a lot over the years. For a person age 65+, the monthly 3SquaresVT cash benefit is directly deposited into your bank account to be used at over 500 grocery stores and farmers markets around the state.
According to the 3SquaresVT website “more than 13,000 Vermont Seniors use 3SquaresVT and out of the seniors that apply, 9 out of 10 that are eligible get $50 or more a month.”
For older adults to qualify for 3SquaresVT the allowable monthly income limit is $981 for a household of one; for a household of two it is $1,328. Out of pocket medical expenses prescribed or approved by a health professional can be claimed so that you may receive a higher benefit. Some of the approved expenses I found on the 3SquaresVT website are:
• Medical care
• Dental care
• Outpatient care
• Nursing care
• Medical supplies
• Sick room equipment
• Hearing aids
• Prescribed eyeglasses
• Personal emergency response systems
• Adaptive equipment • CPAP Machines
Transportation and lodging to get treatment or services
• Gas at $.585/mile to the doctor, hospital, dentist, pharmacy or store
• Taxi or bus fare
• Hired transportation
• Hotel or other lodging
• Medicare Part B
• Medicare Part D
• Supplemental Insurance
• Prescription drugs
• Over-the-counter drugs (pain relievers, antacids, hearing aid, batteries, vitamins, and more)
• Attendant services
• Homemaker services
• Home health aide
• Service animals (securing/maintaining, food, veterinary care)
These are just a few of the approved expenses, you can find the entire list at www.vermontfoodhelp.com or by calling the Senior Helpline.
Don’t wait for the snow to start falling before you apply for Fuel Assistance. You can be warm and worry free if you call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119 even if you think you are over the resource limit!