Utility Bill Assistance with LIHEAP

This program aids low income individuals with heating and cooling for their homes. This program is known as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). If you find that the expenses of heating and cooling your home are eating sizable chunks of your budget, then this program may very well be for you.

Getting Started

People and families receiving low incomes can get assistance from LIHEAP to pay for heating and cooling bills. This program is operational in every state, tribal or Indian organizations, the District of Columbia and other US territories. Every state has specific requirements for this program so it’s best you check the LIHEAP website for eligibility criteria.

Benefits

The aim of LIHEAP is to assist with heating and cooling and as therefore does not cover other utility costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • LIHEAP is available for people who own a home and renters alike.
  • Depending on the state, the costs can be sent to the home occupants, landlords or directly to the utility companies.
  • The average benefit is usually a one-time payment that goes towards heating and cooling costs. When applying, you must specifically state the type of heating your house requires such as, propane or electric.
  • Assistance for energy might be available when there is a price hike of fuel or acute weather.
  • Theses benefits are not taxed as they are not considered income.
  • Sometimes the funds might cover simple energy repairs and weatherization of the home.
  • Companies, organizations and even non-profits are not eligible for the fund, only houses.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Eligibility is based on categories in some states. If a family receives Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income, they are automatically qualified for LIHEAP.
  • Requirement for eligibility chiefly depends on the size of the household and income.
  • In some cases, a family will become eligible if they receive a notice of discontinuance of service.
  • The federal standard is that the state median income be between 60% – 150% of the poverty line to qualify. It varies across states but cannot go below 110% of the poverty line per state.
  • People receiving the LIHEAP fund must reside at home not in a shelter or hospital.
  • LIHEAP assistance is based purely on the availability of funds for your local area, therefore qualified families or individuals may or may not receive assistance.
  • Residents in non-subsidized houses are considered for eligibility.
  • Individuals must be clients of approved vendors.

The Application Process

Depending on state requirements will determine if you’re able to apply over the phone, internet or in person.  The application process is straightforward, easy and fast compared to other benefits given by the state. You might be able to finish the requirements and submit your form in under an hour. Some states combine this with other utilities so you can do it all at once and only apply for the utilities you need. You can search for more information from the website of LIHEAP, email info@ilheap.org or call the number (202) 429-8855. For the application process.  You may also be required to provide the following:

  • A completed application
  • Social security card
  • You might be required to give a comprehensive account of how your bills are paid including things like cable TV, food, insurance, car and phone. You will specify if you pay for those bills with subsidies, gifts, or personally.
  • You may be required to provide a proof that you are a citizenship or proof of residence like permanent visa, birth certificate, naturalization/citizenship papers, INS ID, refugee card, military service records, US passport, Indian census record or some other common methods to prove status of citizenship.
  • Copies of your utility bills for the past 3 months.
  • Proof of all the residents of the house like school records or birth certificates.
  • Comprehensive records of all the income that comes into the household from house members who are 18 years and above (before taxes). Pay stubs and benefits are included.
  • Recent receipt, tax bill, lease or bill that proves the present address.
  • A notice that utility services will be cut off because of lack of payment.

After the complete application and all required documents have been submitted, you can expect a response within 24 – 48 hours. Again, unlike most government assistance programs, LIHEAP takes a day or two before you’re approved.

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