CHICAGO (CBS) — Nov. 1 has arrived, and no doubt, radiators and furnaces have been turned on for many residents.

For low-income families, help is available to pay for heating costs, as WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Starting Tuesday, families with incomes at 150 percent below the poverty level can apply for help with their heating bills. For instance, a family of four with an income of less than $34,000 per year would qualify, as would a household of one with an income of about $16,000 per year.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is funded by the federal and Illinois state governments.

This year, for the first time, low-income families can choose to have the state make a onetime payment to utilities on their behalf, or the families can choose to pay a reduced amount for their heating and electric bills based on their incomes, and receive a monthly benefit for their utility bill.

Seniors and those with disabilities were able to apply Sept. 1 for LIHEAP, while families with children under 5 years old were eligible to apply Oct. 1.

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