The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) is accepting applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) through march. Applications must be received in the LIEAP Processing Center or an SRS office by close of business on March 30th. LIEAP provides an annual benefit to help qualifying households pay winter heating bills. Individuals with disabilities, elderly persons, and families with children are the primary groups assisted. An average benefit of $262.88 was provided to 62,000 households in 2011. To qualify, applicants must be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills. Income eligibility guidelines are set at 130 percent of the federal poverty level. The level of benefit varies according to household income, number of persons living at the address, type of heating fuel, and utility rates. Applicants must demonstrate they have made payments on their heating utility bill two out of the last three months and those payments must be equal to or exceed $80 or the total balance due on their energy bills whichever is less. LIEAP applications are available at local SRS offices or by calling toll-free 1-800-432-0043.