SPENCERCHIAPPONE BILL TO HELP LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS PAY FOR ENERGY COSTS ADVANCES
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly members Grace L. Spencer and Anthony Chiappone sponsored to help low-income seniors and disabled persons pay their gas and utility bills was released today from the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee
The measure (A-6882664) would provide for an annual cost-of-living increase in Lifeline Credit and Tenants Lifeline Assistance payments. The increase would be proportional to the increase in the Social Security benefit for the year.
The current level of assistance for gas and utility payments is $225 per year.
"Low-income residents and senior citizens cannot be thrown into the teeth at another winter with an energy assistance credit that will cover a smaller part of their bill than it did last year," said Spencer (D-Essex).
The lawmakers noted that even with the recent drop in global oil prices, consumers still face energy prices significantly higher than last year. They said that without the cost-of-living increase, the buying power of the credit would continue to erode.
"The low and moderate-income families and seniors already are struggling to cope with rising prices in all commodities including food and gas," said Chiappone (D-Hudson)."Providing this cost-of-living increase will give them one less thing to worry about."
The measure was unanimously released by a 6-0 vote. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
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