More than 3,000 people are newly eligible for discounts on their utility bills under an existing program meant to help low-income people, city officials announced.
The Utility Discount Program (UDP) offers a 60 percent discount on Seattle City Light bills and 50 percent discount on Seattle Public Utilities bills to people with a gross monthly income of 70 percent of the state median. That means a single person making $31,896 per year or a family of four making $61,332 per year could qualify.
The expansion of the program occurred because of a change in the rules that went into effect June 1 that allows Medicare recipients to deduct their Medicare Part D premiums from Social Security, Social Security Disability Income and Supplemental Security Income. That has the effect of lowering the calculated income of Medicare recipients, making more people eligible for the discount.
UDP is a long-standing program, but as Real Change reported in 2014, many people who were eligible for the program either didn’t apply or had difficulty getting on the rolls. The city conducted outreach and simplified the process. Enrollees jumped from 14,000 to 28,000 in just two years.
Today, 33,000 customers are enrolled, according to the city. The average UDP enrollee saves $1,200 per year on utilities.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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