The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) is accepting applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) March 29. 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 $520.81 was provided to 53,683 households in 2012. 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 dwelling, 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. Applications for the program have been mailed to households who received energy assistance last year. LIEAP applications are available at local DCF offices or can be requested by calling toll-free 1-800-432-0043. Visit www.dcf.ks.gov to apply online.