Washington, DC: As winter quickly approaches, Delaware's congressional delegation announced today that many of the State's low income families will be getting federal help in paying for heating bills in the coming months. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) has awarded Delaware $1,848,367 from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to allow low income families, disabled individuals and senior citizens living on fixed incomes, offset high seasonal energy costs. "Low income families can spend up to 20 percent of their total income on energy bills," said Senator Biden. "Without some help, these families often face unthinkable decisions - choosing between paying their heating bills or buying food and clothing. This money is critical to ensuring the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us." "Releasing this money now will help many low-income families offset the costs of heating their homes this winter," said Senator Carper. "Without these funds, many families would struggle to make ends meet this winter, unfairly having to chose between heating their homes or buying more food or clothing for their children. LIHEAP is one of the best federal programs we have going to help families in need." "Low-income families of Delaware routinely deal with energy costs," said Castle. "While we hope to remain at normal levels of supply and demand during the upcoming months, families may see they are using their income to be able to afford heat in the winter. This funding will assist these households and provide them expendable income for other necessities." For fiscal year 2003, a total of $2 billion in LIHEAP funding was available to help states address the higher energy costs faced by residents. More than four million low-income households receive assistance each year to help households to deal with energy cost related to extreme heat and cold. States determine which low-income families receive LIHEAP support.