Cochran Firm's Helping Hands Blog

Meeting Energy Needs

1331258 electric_meterIf you are in need of energy assistance, the following program can assist those living in the Philadelphia, PA area:

PECO offers several payment plans and programs to help families and individuals meet their energy needs and protect themselves from utility shut-offs. Listed below you’ll find detailed information on the various special payment plans and programs offered through PECO.

CAP Rate – Through this plan, eligible low-income customers within the PECO service territory are provided with a discounted residential tariff rate. There are seven discounted rates available to residential electric and gas customers. These rates have a discount up to 90 percent. The percentage of discount is based on the gross household income of the customer. For more information regarding CAP Rate or to find out if your household may be eligible for services, please call (800) 774-7040.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – This plan provides assistance to low-income households with their home energy bills. LIHEAP was designed to provide families with the assistance they need to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Assistance may include: bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance and weatherization and energy-related home repairs. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on an applicant’s household size and income, the county of residence and the energy type in which they use. Eligible applicant’s household income must not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. To find out if you are eligible, please call (800) 344-3574. For your convenience, we have included a blank application on the following page.

Matching Energy Assistance Fund (MEAF) – This program provides assistance to low-income, residential customers with bill payment. To determine your eligibility or to learn more information about MEAF, call (800) 774-7040.

Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) – Through this program, free usage reduction services and education are offered to help reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas that individuals use in their homes. To be eligible for LIURP services, individuals must be a PECO customer with a total household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and have a high usage in the household. For more information, or to determine your eligibility, call (800) 675-0222.

Customer Assistance and Referral Evaluation Services (CARES) – This program serves as a referral and information service that provides assistance to special needs, low-income customers who are going through a temporary personal or financial hardship that prevents them from being able to pay their utility bill. To determine if your household qualifies for the CARE program, call (800) 774-7040.

For more information about the payment plans and programs offered through PECO, call (800)-494-4000 or visit www.peco.com

Financial Assistance and Vocational Training for Those Left Behind?

If life has dealt you a pretty tough hand, and you are in need of financial or vocational assistance, look no further than General Relief and General Relief Opportunities for Work in Los Angeles, California. This organization is dedicated to those that may not qualify for other state or federal programs.

Los Angeles County, through the Department of Public Social Services, offers two assistance programs--General Relief (GR) and General Relief Opportunities for Work (GROW).  GR provides financial assistance to needy adults often living alone with limited or no resources.  As mentioned above, this demographic is often ineligible for many state and federal programs targeted to those with children or depeHandsome African American, 01-25-12ndents. To be eligible for financial assistance, you must meet one of the GR classifications listed below:

1. Employable and having no medical condition that prevents employment may receive GR for 9 months in a 12 month period.  Must comply with GROW requirements.

2.  Employable but need specific accommodations in order to work or have limitations and/or restrictions for the type of work they are able to perform.

3.  Need special assistance due to a mental disability.

4.  Unemployable due to a temporary or permanent medical condition.  GR benefits are not restricted to a time limit.

5.  Unemployable, but still participate in GROW on a voluntary basis.

6.  Unemployable, not because of a mental or physical incapacity, but because they are unable to find, accept, or continue existing employment.

The General Relief Opportunities for Work (GROW) program was established to provide both training/employment services to individuals that are able to be employed and guidance to those participants with the end goal of attaining self-sufficiency.  If you are employable and wish to receive General Relief financial assistance, it is mandatory that you participate in GROW. 

To find out more information about either of the above programs or apply:

Visit http://dpss.lacounty.gov/dpss/gr/default.cfm or call 1-866-613-3777 to find an office location near you.

At The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers we understand that for many clients, Social Security Disability benefits can't come soon enough. If your application has been denied, don't give up! Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers are extremely familiar with the Social Security Disability application process and will work hard to help you get the benefits you deserve. If you or a loved one has a disability and would like assistance with handling your claim, contact The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476). We are available day or night to help you receive the Social Security disability benefits you deserve.

Renters on SSI Struggle to Make Payments

New Study Shows National Average Rent is More Than Amount Received by People with Disabilities on Supplemental Security Income

The report, Priced Out in 2010 – The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities, shows that in 2010, the basic cost of shelter, represented by the average regirlnt for a modest one bedroom apartment, was more than the entire income of an individual receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Federal housing affordability guidelines state that low-income households should pay no more than 30% of monthly income towards housing costs, or about $211 per month for someone who receives SSI. However, the study shows that there was not one state or community in the nation where a person with a disability on SSI could afford to rent housing without a permanent rental subsidy.

In 2010, as a national average, a person receiving SSI needed to pay 112% of their monthly income to rent a modest one-bedroom unit, leaving no income for food, clothes, or other necessities. People with disabilities receiving SSI were also priced out of smaller studio/efficiency rental units that cost 99% of SSI income. Incredibly, this study found that there are now 218 markets across 42 states where rents for modestly priced units exceed 100% of monthly SSI. Further, there are 30 housing markets where rents were equal to, or in excess of, 150% of SSI.

In addition to programs like Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), food stamps (SNAP), and rental assistance programs, Local Independent Living Centers, or ILCs, are a great resource for renters who struggle to pay their rent. ILCs provide people with disabilities advocacy and support services, including assistance with employment, transportation, housing, health care and living skills. A list of ILCs in the United States can be found by visiting http://www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/index.html and selecting your map on the page. ILCs do vary in terms of the types of services they provide, and they are not in every city or town, but many are very helpful and can let you know about programs that might be able to help.

If you or a loved one has a disability and would like more information about Social Security Disability benefits or need assistance in applying for Social Security Disability benefits, contact The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476). We are available day or night to help you receive the Social Security benefits that you deserve.

Building Healthy Communities

If you are in need of affordable and quality healthcare, the following service assists million of Americans with getting the care they need:

269548 emergencyThe Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA), exists to improve access to health care services for people who are uninsured and are in need of medical attention. HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that serves everyone from infants to the elderly. HRSA strives to improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovation programs. HRSA provides leadership and financial support to health care providers in every state and U.S. and strives to build healthy communities. Federally-funded health centers offer services to even those who have no health insurance. Their goal is to promote best practices and eliminate health disparities by assuring that people in the U.S. have access to a broad range of essential personal and public health services. Individuals will pay what they can based on their income. Listed below is a list of services that are provided by the health centers:

  • Checkups for those who are well
  • Treatments for those who are sick
  • Complete care during pregnancy
  • Immunizations and checkups for children
  • Dental care and prescription drugs for families
  • Mental health and substance abuse care if needed.
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    Health centers are located in most cities and many rural areas. To locate a health center, please visit http://www.hrsa.gov/index.html and click the ‘Find Health Centers’ button to locate a center nearest you.

    For more information about the services offered through the Health Resource and Services Administration, please call (888) 275-4772.

    At The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers we understand that for many clients, Social Security Disability benefits can't come soon enough. If your application has been denied, don't give up! Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers are extremely familiar with the Social Security Disability application process and will work hard to help you get the benefits you deserve. If you or a loved one has a disability and would like assistance with handling your claim, contact The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476). We are available day or night to help you receive the Social Security disability benefits you deserve.

    Advancing Rehabilitation

    The following organization exists to help individuals with disabilities become more successful in the work force as well as educate others on the many contributions those with disabilities can make:

    Founded in 1985, the Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA) is dedicated to providing individuals with educational programs and assistance. The organization works with youth and adults with disabilities, their family members and friends, as well as professionals in the fields of rehabilitation, education, healthcare and business, and industry and government. The goal of DBA is to advance rehabilitation and enhance the competitive performance of the work of business by entrepreneurs with disabilities. 192499 wheelchair_ramp

    The DBA strives to provide information, counseling, coaching and mentorship from the perspective of someone with a disability in today’s work force. Various programs and services are offered to youth, adults and veterans with disabilities of all ages. Listed below are brief descriptions of the programs offered through DBA:

  • Self-Employment of People with Disabilities- The DBA offers counseling and guidance for individuals with disabilities. Assistance is primarily provided with a consumer’s vocational rehabilitation specialist.
  • National Disabled Veterans Business Center (NDVBC)- This program provides personalized counseling and assistance to veterans and their loved ones. The program also provides counseling services to disabled veterans who are homeless, ex-offenders and incarcerated.
  • Challenged America- This program exists to advance rehabilitation, provide new life experiences, and foster the competitive spirit of youth and adults with disabilities. Challenged America is a year-round, therapeutic, adaptive sailing, educational program.
  • Special Kids in Business-This program was designed for school-aged youth, ages 16-21 years of age. Special Kids in Business mainly focuses on youth having developmental and other severe and catastrophic disabilities,
  • Entrepreneur Educational Programs- The goal of this program is to enhance one’s successful entry and competitive performance in the work place.
  • For more information about the programs and services offered through the Disabled Businesspersons Association, please call (619) 594-8805.

    At The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers we understand that for many clients, Social Security Disability benefits can't come soon enough. If your application has been denied, don't give up! Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers are extremely familiar with the Social Security Disability application process and will work hard to help you get the benefits you deserve. If you or a loved one has a disability and would like assistance with handling your claim, contact The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476). We are available day or night to help you receive the Social Security disability benefits you deserve.


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