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Low-Income Oklahoma Families Can Apply For Help With Propane Bill

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Many Oklahoma families are having trouble heating homes with the rise in cost of propane. Many Oklahoma families are having trouble heating homes with the rise in cost of propane.
Betty Johnson and her family rely on propane, but are looking for other options. Betty Johnson and her family rely on propane, but are looking for other options.
Stacey Chadwell with the Department of Human Services. Stacey Chadwell with the Department of Human Services.
Eligibility is based on an applicant's income and assets. Eligibility is based on an applicant's income and assets.
MANNFORD, Oklahoma -

Tuesday was the first day low-income Oklahoma families could apply for help with their propane bill.

$4 million has been released from the federal government to help Oklahoma families offset the rising cost of the fuel.

2/2/2014 Related Story: Propane Assistance Available To Low-Income Households

"All I know is when I get 20 percent they told me to call and I've been at 20 percent for probably three weeks," said Betty Johnson of Mannford.

Johnson and her family rely on propane to heat their home, but the rising cost of the fuel has her looking for options.

"This is our one space heater that we have and it keeps the living room, the bathroom, and the kitchen and part of the hallway done," Johnson said.

The Johnsons are like thousands of Oklahomans who are struggling to pay their propane bill. The cost of the fuel has gone from $1.85 a gallon in the fall to nearly $5 a gallon in late January.

"I'm worried about paying for it because I can't do it, I seriously can't do it," Johnson said. "I have a very short income right now, it's a very small income and it's hard to do it."

The federal government and utility companies have chipped in to help.

"Essentially, the federal government released $4 million to the state of Oklahoma and we are accepting and processing applications until the funding is exhausted, said Stacey Chadwell with the Department of Human Services.

Chadwell said families who meet certain income guidelines and are 72 hours from using up their supply of propane can apply at DHS for help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

It's a one-time payment with a maximum of $650.

"Yeah, it would probably help us out a lot," said Johnson.

Johnson plans to apply for the help and said she's just worried about her two children.

"I can manage if it was just me. I could sit in front of a space heater with a blanket and a cup of cocoa, but them, they can't do that," Johnson said.

You can apply for the assistance at the DHS office downtown or at the facility at 36 Street and North Peoria.

When you do apply you'll need to make a declaration of your income and you can expect that check to come within 72 hours.

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