MONTPELIER (AP) - Vermont's fuel assistance program is about to distribute benefit payments directly to people who heat with wood.

Director Richard Moffi says instead of payments going directly to firewood dealers, they will go to recipients, who are now responsible for finding the best deal.

Moffi told Vermont Public Radio the money will show up on EBT cards. He said if a client chooses to use the benefit for something other than fuel and then they go to crisis assistance seeking help to get firewood or wood pellets, he or she will be asked how much wood was acquired and why the seasonal benefit ran out so quickly.

The state helps about 1,700 people who heat with wood and the average benefit is $465.


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