New State programs provide first-come, first-serve financial assistance for homes and businesses with overdue bills after being hit hard by COVID-19
VGS urges customers who have had difficulty paying their utility bills during the COVID-19 emergency to apply for financial assistance available through two new State programs. The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP) and the Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) offer grants—that’s money recipients don’t have to pay back—to help Vermonters through hard financial times caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Funds for these programs were made available through the federal CARES Act and Vermont Coronavirus Relief Funds.
“At VGS, we care deeply about the well-being of our customers,” said VGS president and CEO Neale Lunderville. “We know that many Vermonters struggled to pay their personal and business bills on time as COVID-19 interrupted daily life and put a strain on the economy. VCAAP and VERAP provide critical financial support as Vermonters back on their feet and stabilize their finances.”
VCAAP residential assistance is available for up to $10,000 and businesses can receive up to $50,000 in assistance. VERAP offers various kinds of assistance with variable caps.
“If you or a loved one have unpaid VGS bills, we urge you to contact our customer service team at (802) 863-4511 or 1-800-639-2112, or firstname.lastname@example.org,” Lunderville stated. “We want to help. Our representatives stand ready to walk you through these two programs so you know which option is best for you, your family, or your business.”
Lunderville said he hopes VGS customers and other Vermonters will take advantage of these support programs before funding runs out—VCAAP assistance is first-come, first-serve. He explained that VCAAP is available to residential account holders and businesses with bills more than 30 days overdue which they incurred while the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency was in effect in Vermont: between April 1, 2020 and June 15, 2021.
“Homeowners may only apply for a grant for their primary residence,” he noted. Additionally, renters may qualify for even more generous assistance through VERAP if they qualify. Renters may not receive support through both programs at the same time.
Before you apply for VCAAP:
- Have a copy of the most recent bills handy because you’ll need to know the account number, service address and the name of the account holder.
- Funds awarded from this grant may be considered taxable income for businesses.? For more information, please visit?the Department of Taxes webpage Expanded Economic Recovery Grant FAQs (scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions section).
- You do not need to upload a copy of your bill.
- ?You must apply before October 25, 2021. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis until funding runs out, or the program ends.
- The following browsers can be used to apply: Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Internet Explorer is not a supported browser for this program.
Before you apply for VRAP, please have the following handy:
- Your 2020 W-2s or and Income Tax Form (e.g. 1040).
- Current pay stubs (for the last month)
- A lease, rental agreement or letter of attestation from your landlord
- An eviction notice (If applicable)
- Your unemployment compensation benefits letter (if applicable)
- Documentation for other income sources (Social Security or Disability, child support, alimony, or pension as applicable)
- The legal name of your landlord
VGS is a leader in energy efficiency and innovation, offering a clean, safe, affordable choice for over 54,000 homes, businesses, and institutions in Franklin, Chittenden and Addison counties. The company plays an important role in Vermont’s clean energy future by displacing higher-emitting fuels, offering renewable natural gas service, and delivering award-winning energy efficiency programs. VGS is leading the country in the development of local renewable energy generation and has targeted a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and becoming Net Zero by 2050. For more information about Vermont Gas visit www.vgsvt.com