Help available on heating bills for low-income families

Heating your home during the winter months can create a financial burden. In an effort to help keep Kansans warm this winter, the Kansas Department for Children and Families has begun accepting applications for its Low- Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).

“Winters in Kansas have the likelihood of bringing frigid temperatures, and we want to ensure families don’t suffer from the cold due to financial concerns,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said in a news release. “Our staff is prepared to begin processing LIEAP applications, so families have warm homes this winter season.”

LIEAP provides an annual benefit to help qualifying households pay winter heating bills. Persons with disabilities, older adults and families with children are the primary groups assisted.

In 2019, about 33,000 households received an average benefit of $576.

To qualify, applicants must be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills. Income eligibility requirements are set at 130 percent of the federal poverty level. The level of benefit varies according to household income, number of people living in the home, type of residence, type of heating fuel and utility rates.

Applicants need to have made payments on their heating bill two out of the last three months, according to the DCF news release. 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 that received energy assistance last year. LIEAP applications are also available at local DCF offices and through partnering agencies. They can be requested by calling 1-800-432-0043. To apply online, visit For more information, visit

Applications will be accepted now through March 31. Income eligibility determination:

Persons Living at the Address – Maximum Gross Monthly Income
1 – $1,354
2 – $1,832
3 – $2,311
4 – $2,790
5 – $3,269
6 – $3,748
7 – $4,227
8 – $4,705
9 – $5,184

10 – $5,663
11 – $6,142
12 – $6,621
+1 – $479 for each additional person

Funding for the Low-Income Energy Assistance program is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Rep. Davids votes for bill aimed at lowering prescription drug costs

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., voted Thursday to pass legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs for families across Kansas’ 3rd District.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, H.R. 3, gives Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower drug prices, and makes those lower prices available even to those with private insurance.

“When Kansans go to the pharmacy to pick up their medication, they deserve a fair deal on their drug prices,” Rep. Davids said. “This legislation will lower costs for Kansans and stop drug companies from gouging consumers, while saving patients and taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few years. I was proud to join my House colleagues in passing this critical piece of legislation, and now it’s time for the Senate to finally stand up to Big Pharma and do the same.”

Nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office found that this legislation will save taxpayers $456 billion in Medicare Part D Spending from 2023 to 2029. The Office of the Actuary found that it will save households $158 billion and private businesses $46 billion from 2020 to 2029.

H.R. 3, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act:
• Gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower drug prices, while ensuring seniors don’t lose access to the prescriptions they need.  
• Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
• Stops drug companies from charging Americans double and triple the price for the same medication as people in other countries pay.  
• Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and stops unfair price hikes for thousands of medications, including insulin.  
• Reinvests in the biggest improvements to Medicare since its creation – delivering vision, dental and hearing benefits – and accelerating the search for new cures.

Deadline nears for public comments on Atmos rate energy increase proposal

Residents who are served by Atmos Energy for natural gas have until 5 p.m. Dec. 13 to make a public comment on the rate increase proposal.

A public hearing was held in September on the rate increase, with residents allowed to make additional comments through Dec. 13. Atmos has about 135,000 customers in Kansas.

Atmos applied for a $7.1 million revenue increase in June. If approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission, the average monthly bill for residential customers would increase about $3.83 per month, or 13.4 percent, according to information from the KCC.

Residents may visit the KCC website at and click on the “Your Opinion Matters” link to make a comment.

Public comments also were being taken by telephone at the KCC’s public affairs office, 1-800-662-0027 or 785-271-3140.

The KCC is expected to make a decision on the rate increase request on or before Feb. 24. More information about the rate case is at