This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

As temperatures drop, people will be cranking their thermostats up to stay warm.

Not everyone can afford the bill that comes with it.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP was designed to help families and individuals keep up with their energy bills.

November 1st is the first day to apply for assistance.

In 2012, 85,000 Iowa households faced the dilemma of putting food on the table or paying their energy bills.

LIHEAP was their answer.

"We're inundated with thanks and hugs and sighs of relief,” said Tami Lage from the West Des Moines Human Services office.

Lage helps people apply for funding.

One of her customers is Jan Fleming, a retired special education teacher who thanks to LIHEAP, has been able to get caught up on her bills.

"I couldn't have made it at all without the help of LIHEAP,” said Fleming.

Funding for the program has been cut in each of the last three years.

Still, the average household received about $460 dollars in 2012.

The money comes in the form of a one-time credit to your energy bill and is awarded primarily based on income.

"There may be a handful of people that may not qualify due to having too much income,” Lage told Channel 13 News.

You have until April 30th to apply for LIHEAP funding, but Lage encourages you to apply now.

Energy companies only cut off power as a last resort after November first, but if you're an approved LIHEAP customer, you're protected.

"If a person has not applied or not sought that protection, they're subject to disconnection at any time,” said Lage.

Applications can be completed in person or mailed in.

For Jan Fleming, filling out that application has helped her make ends meet.

"They won't leave you freezing. I have the winter months to catch up,” said Fleming.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.