Support for utility bills owed by people in poverty will continue with an extension of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Missouri Department of Social Services announced Thursday.

The end date for the program, which would have expired Tuesday, has been extended to May 31 for Missourians who had not previously applied for help. The program, known as LIHEAP, provides a one-time payment for primary heating bills.

To be eligible, the person responsible for paying home heating costs must have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments, a household income less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $2,400 a month for for a family of three, and be a legal resident of the state.

To apply for the assistance, go online to