Home heating aid at record levels

January 12, 2009 5:17:00 PM PST
About 7.1 million households are expected to get fuel aid this winter, a new record. The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association says that's 1.2 million more households than last winter, a 21 percent increase.

The group's Mark Wolfe says many of the families getting the assistance are living pay check to pay check and might have been middle class before losing their jobs.

Fifteen states expect increases of 21 percent or more in the number of households getting aid, and they're in all regions of the country.

The government nearly doubled fuel assistance last fall, releasing $5.1 billion to states for this winter.