Applications for energy and other assistance now available online

With cold weather fast approaching and the economy still shaky, some county residents may need energy assistance – or food assistance, cash assistance, child care assistance or Medicaid.

Greene County residents, like all Virginians, can now check their eligibility and apply for assistance, check the status of benefits, renew them or report changes online, thanks to the State’s new CommonHelp computer platform.

From the comfort of their own homes or any place with computer access, all they have to do is visit to learn about the assistance programs offered through the State 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Street addresses and zip codes are not required of applicants, just a city or locality. For those who are not familiar with online applications, a tutorial is located on the home page of the site, and there is no need to create an account prior to submitting an application.

Applicants will be asked to respond to questions about their current living situation, including family members, income and expenses to see if they are eligible for benefits through the Virginia Department of Social Services. All responses are confidential, and when all questions have been answered, an online message will let users know if they are eligible for child care, energy, financial, food or medical assistance.

The online process will provide applicants with information about next steps, as well as the name and address of the local department of social services, which will receive and process the application.

If for some reason the application process is interrupted, applicants have 60 days to “Save,” Exit”, and “Continue” the application before submitting it.

Even if the screening indicates that an applicant is not eligible for benefits, he or she can still immediately link to “Apply for Benefits” or choose to print a paper application to complete and share with the local department of social services.

Once a CommonHelp account has been created, applicants can check on the status of benefits and access information about current and past benefit accounts.

Those with existing cases can renew their benefits through CommonHelp up to 60 days prior to expiration, and 30 days after the renewal date. If there are no benefits available for renewal, the “Renew My Benefits” link will not be displayed.

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