Thursday, November 20, 2014

DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status Designations for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone

Due to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has announced his decision to designate Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  As a result, eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Federal Register notices provide details and procedures for applying for TPS and are available at

The TPS designations for the three countries are effective Nov. 21, 2014 and will be in effect for 18 months. The designations mean that eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries) will not be removed from the United States and are authorized to work and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins Nov. 21, 2014 and runs through May 20, 2015.

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014 and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014.  Applicants also undergo thorough security checks.  Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. The eligibility requirements are fully described in the Federal Register notices and on the TPS Web page at

Liberians currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum may apply for TPS. If they do not apply for TPS within the initial 180-day registration period, they risk being ineligible for TPS because they will have missed the initial registration period. Liberians covered by DED who already possess or have applied for an EAD do not need to also apply for one related to this TPS designation. However, such individuals who are granted TPS may request a TPS-related EAD at a later date as long as the TPS designation for Liberia remains in effect.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all fees based on demonstrated inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. USCIS will reject any TPS application that does not include the required filing fee or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download these forms from the USCIS website at or request them by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2015 LIHEAP Requirements

LIHEAP is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  This program helps
low-income families pay their heating bills. 

To receive help:
  • You don’t need to be on welfare
  • You don’t need to have an unpaid heating bill(your heat can still be on)
  • You can either rent or own your home

LIHEAP is taking (new) applications for its cash, weatherization
and crisis  grants beginning November 3, 2014.
Applications for LIHEAP will not be accepted after April 3, 2015.
If you received LIHEAP last year you must reapply this year!

There are three parts of LIHEAP.  You can get all three.
1.     Cash grants.  These grants are to help with your heating bill; the minimum cash grant will be $100 and the maximum grant is $1000.
2.     Crisis grants.  These grants are up to $500 and given to families who have an emergency and are in danger of being without heat. The minimum crisis grant is $25.
3.     Weatherization grants.  These grants help families insulate their houses and repair or replace heating systems to save money on heating. 

To apply for a Cash or Crisis grant, go to the Delaware County Assistance Office (CAO),
701 Crosby Street in Chester
or apply on-line at

It usually takes 45 days to process an application for a Cash grant.
You are eligible for the Cash or Crisis grants if your yearly income before taxes is less than

Household Size
Yearly Income
Each additional person add
        $  6,090

*these income limits are slightly higher than the income limits of last year’s program
still some households receiving LIHEAP last year may be determined income ineligible this year.

To apply for a Crisis grant or to make an inquiry about the status of your LIHEAP application, call 1-866-857-7095

If you need legal assistance, please call
Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania at 1-877-429-5994 (toll-free).