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$4.5 million more available to help Missourians pay heating bills

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri Department of Social Services is releasing $4.5 million to help low-income residents pay their heating bills as temperatures drop across the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday announced those additional federal funds put the total available to Missourians this winter at $18.6 million.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will pay energy companies for households without heat or at risk of having their heat turned off.

Missourians with an income at or below 135 percent of the poverty level — under $27,000 a year for a family of three — can receive $800 in assistance through the Energy Crisis Intervention Program. Those with $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement or investments are eligible.

The program helped more than 146,000 Missouri households in fiscal year 2014.