The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel may finally be approaching, but the effects it had on our lives and economy are far from over.

So many Americans and Illinoisans lost their jobs and businesses because of COVID-19, and coming back from the devastation is going to be one hell of a uphill battle. That is the main reason I was bummed to see that the ban on utility companies shutting off power to residents who were behind on payments officially ended on April 1, 2021 in Illinois.

According to mystateline.com, as of yesterday, (Thursday 4/1), "utility companies can start sending out disconnection notices to those who haven’t paid their bill again".

Delaying power shutoffs was put in place to help unemployed Illinoisans, but help is still available for residents who need it.

The Illinois Department of Commerce's LIHEAP Program (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is still available to assist low-income families pay their utility bills. According to illinois.gov;

 Illinois residents with a household income that does not exceed an amount determined annually by the Department of Commerce are eligible. Annual eligibility levels are determined based on available funding and may not exceed 200% of the federal nonfarm poverty level.

Applying for assistance through the LIHEAP program is primarily being done remotely, and you can fill out an application now, here. Applications are handled by the county you live in, and the mystateline.com article says, "County offices were sent money to give to residents to pay off utility bills with no strings attached", so please don't hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.

 

READ MORE: Here are 10 ways to help others who are struggling right now