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With budget cuts galore, these are tough times for the disabled, many of us having less income than we might like. With this in mind, it’s important to save a buck or two wherever and whenever possible. Programs like the Homestead Refund and LIEAP (The Kansas Low Income Energy Assistance Program) are designed to assist people like us. Can these programs help you save some money? What are they?
First let’s talk about the Homestead Refund. What is the Homestead Refund? The Homestead Refund is a rebate of a portion of the property taxes paid on a Kansas resident’s homestead. A person’s refund percentage is based on their total household income. The refund is a percentage of a person’s general property tax excluding specials. Tax on property valued at more than $350,000 does not qualify. The maximum refund is $700. Filers eligible for the Kansas Property Tax Relief claim receive 75 percent of their property tax with no minimum limit. Individuals are only eligible for one claim.
“You have to be a homeowner to be eligible for the program,” explains SKIL volunteer Independent Living Coordinator (ILC) Judy Blunk. “If you are renting you would not be eligible.”
According to Blunk, people who are interested can file now. Applications must be in before April 1st. “It would be best to go ahead and get it done as soon as possible,” says Blunk. “I am assisting people with their filing already.”
Anyone who is seeking help filing for the Homestead Refund or has questions about their eligibility can contact the Parsons SKIL office at (620) 421-5502 and ask for an independent living coordinator. “Any one of the coordinators will be more than happy to assist you,” says Blunk.
So, how long does the application process take? “If they have all the paperwork right there in front of them, it wouldn’t take but a few minutes,” says Blunk. “If the person doesn’t have their paperwork with them, it might take about thirty minutes to complete the application.”
LIEAP is another valuable option for Kansas residents. This is a federally funded program that provides energy assistance to low-income families in the state of Kansas. Through this program, the state of Kansas has been able to ensure that no household lacks heating facilities and fuel especially in the cold winter season. Benefits of the program are provided based on the household size, household income, type of dwellings, and type of fuel used by the particular household.
“The program helps pay a person’s electric or gas bill,” Blunk says. “They can have it split in half to pay towards both of them, or they can have all the money put into one.”
SKIL also assists people with filing for LIEAP and the determination of eligibility. Blunk says she can assist people living near the Columbus area. She can be contacted at (620) 429-3600. She says the independent living coordinators in Parsons can also assist. That number again is (620) 421-5502.