The Weatherization Assistance Program: Sustainable Energy Solutions for Low-Income Households

Staying cool in the summer costs most of us more these days as electricity prices rise. For low-income families, especially older people living on a fixed income, this can lead to breaking the family budget – or exposure to excessive heat. One way to avoid high utility bills is to make homes more energy efficient. That is the goal of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a federal program designed to increase energy efficiency for low-income families. The Weatherization Assistance Program …

A Look at Lower-Income Taxpayers and the Dependent Care Credit

Caring for a child or an aging parent can be costly. Caregivers working outside of the home may be able to offset some of these costs through the federal child and dependent care tax credit (CDCC). In 2010, 6.3 million taxpayers claimed the CDCC, reducing their tax liability by about $3.4 billion. In all likelihood child care is a much larger slice of this pie, particularly given the requirement that the dependent must live with the taxpayer for at least …

Rising Propane Prices, Shortages Add to Winter Woes

Persistent record-setting low temperatures across much of the United States are making this a tough winter for many families. Households face higher heating bills as prices for heating fuels continue to increase with rising demand sparked by the cold. Price increases for liquid propane have been significant. The Department of Energy estimates that 6 million households, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, use propane as their primary source of heating fuel. Low inventories and high demand for the fuel have …

Not Enough Households Staying Warm With LIHEAP

Low-income households often face challenges in keeping pace with rising energy costs. A recent study shows that despite federal assistance amounting to $3.4 billion, in the winter of 2011-12 low-income households were left struggling to pay $35.1 billion in energy costs. The federal government helps eligible low-income households maintain adequate energy mainly through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP serves to protect eligible families by helping keep their homes warm during winter and cool during summer. Although …