Oct. 6, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - An enhanced emergency fuel benefit to help low-income New Brunswickers offset their energy costs was announced today by Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock.
"Consultations between the government and the New Brunswick Housing stakeholder committee have helped establish a model for heating assistance that will allow us serve the needs of vulnerable New Brunswickers during our winters," said Lamrock. "This welcome co-operation provided us with the feedback needed to deliver an enhanced program that will help people who are in a true financial emergency and need help heating their home in the winter."
The Enhanced Emergency Fuel Benefit Program builds on the Department of Social Development's existing emergency assessment by providing up to $550 in emergency funding to qualifying New Brunswick households.
The enhanced benefit also removes the requirement that potential applicants deplete their assets to qualify for assistance. This means that items such as investments, cash-in-hand, and bank accounts with less than $2,000 will not be considered in determining if a household needs the benefit.
"A benefit that addresses a true emergency, such as high winter heating costs, without jeopardizing the financial security of New Brunswickers, is essential when considering their current and future needs," said Randy Hatfield, executive director of the Human Development Council.
All New Brunswick households who find themselves in an emergency situation may apply for the Enhanced Emergency Fuel Benefit by contacting their regional office. If an applicant requires the benefit in two consecutive years, their dwelling will automatically be prioritized for a low-income retrofit.
This enhanced program complements Social Development's other heating supplements. It is also supplemented by a variety of energy efficiency programs that can provide medium- and long-term solutions to high heating costs.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alison Aiton, communications, Department of Social Development, 506-444-2416.