NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker today applauded the early release of more than $114 million in heating and home energy funding to help hundreds of thousands of vulnerable New Jersey seniors and families who struggle to stay warm during the winter months. The New Jersey senators wrote U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell earlier this month to push for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to be released to states as quickly as possible.

"Hundreds of thousands of seniors and lower income families in New Jersey struggle to stay warm during the harsh winter months as the costs of energy rise," said Sen. Menendez."For so many, LIHEAP is the lifeline that can prevent them from having to choose between heating their home and buying food or medicine. That's why it's so important to get these critical funds out of Washington and to our recipients as soon as possible."

"We have a responsibility to ensure those in our state who struggling to make ends meet are able to stay warm this winter," said Sen. Booker. "This funding provides critical support that can help an elderly couple or single parent afford to pay for their basic necessities while also keeping their heat on during the cold months ahead. I am committed to advocating for this energy assistance program and funds that support New Jersey's low-income households."

According to the campaign for home energy assistance, LIHEAP serves approximately 275,000 New Jersey households a year.

LIHEAP offers financial assistance to qualifying low-income households to help them pay their home heating or cooling bills. Under federal law, a household must have income below either 150 percent of the federal poverty level or 60 percent of state median income level, whichever is higher.

For additional information on LIHEAP visit theACF Office of Community Services (OCS) web siteor read the LIHEAP brochure inEnglishorSpanish.