The the fuel assistance program is open for applications from now through April 30, 2009, the South Shore Community Action Council Inc. has advised.

Applicants under 60 years of age may fill out applications by scheduling an appointment with Susan Von Steiger, Monday through Thursday at the Oak Bluffs Council on Aging at 508-693-4509. Alternatively, phone calls to the main office in Plymouth via a live operator are accepted between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 508-746-6707. Senior citizens may also call their local councils on aging to apply.

New applicants must bring proof of income for the past 30 days for all household members over 18, picture identification and proof of street address. Households who have used the same primary heat source for at least 12 months should bring copies of their heating bills for the year prior to apply for a potentially higher fuel assistance benefit level. For clients in an emergency situation, all income and other information must be brought into the office the day of application in order to receive emergency assistance.

Eligibility for fuel assistance may also provide 12 months of discounts on electric, gas and telephone bills. Fuel assistance eligibility may also provide eligibility for free weatherization and heating system repair.

Eligibility is based on gross income and household size. The maximum allowable income guidelines are as follows:

• One-person households, $27,876.

• Two-person households, $36,454.

• Three-person households, $45,031.

• Four-person households, $53,608.

• Five-person households, $62,186.