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All About Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Updated : August 4th, 2020

The federal government offers several programs to low-income households to help them support their livelihood. One such presentation is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The LIHEAP helps qualified low-income families pay their heating and cooling energy costs (gas or electric utilities). But who qualifies for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program? 

In this article, we will guide you through the eligibility criteria for LIHEAP. But before that, let us have a detailed look at the aspects of the program. 

More About The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program has two provisions: Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) and Energy Assistance/Regular Heating (EA).

The Energy Assistance provides one-time payment assistance for paying the heating bills from November through March. The Energy Crisis Intervention Program, on the other hand, pays fuel bills when the energy is threatened to shut off, or is shut off. 

The payment received will be based on the amount of money required to resolve the issue with the energy provider. The payment under ECIP is available during:

  1. Summer ECIP – This is available from June to September. The maximum amount paid under this program is $600. 
  2. Winter ECIP – This is available November to May. The maximum amount paid under this program is $800. 

LIHEAP mainly helps families who spend a major portion of their income on energy bills. 

Eligibility Criteria 

Eligibility requirements for the LIHEAP are based on household size, income, resources available, and responsibility for paying home energy costs. Some of the other requirements include:

  1. Should be a citizen of the U.S. or are legally admitted permanent U.S. resident
  2. Should be responsible for paying home cooling and heating costs
  3. The savings must not be more than $3,000 in retirement accounts, bank accounts, or other investments
  4. You or your family member must participate in any of the following programs:
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Needs-Tested Veterans Benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Note that the eligibility requirements may vary from one state to another. 

How to Apply For The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program?

You may apply for LIHEAP online through your local provider’s website. Make sure you are applying through the appropriate agency for the country in which you are residing. Check if there is an online application so that you can complete and submit it through the mail without requiring to visit the office in-person. For information about local providers, you can visit https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/liheap-state-and-territory-contact-listing. If you need some help with the application, you call toll-free number 1-866-674-6327. 

Note –

  1. Due to the surge in the number of applications and queries, many times, the numbers of local agencies may remain busy. Be patient, and keep trying to reach them.
  2. Many local agencies receive calls only during specific operating hours. Therefore, make sure you call only those hours to avoid waiting to be answered. 
  3. Local agencies receive applications, verify your eligibility, and directly make payments to energy firms on your behalf.
  4. Some LIHEAP local agencies require an appointment to assist with the application process. In such cases, you are required to schedule an appointment with the agency.

Required Documentation To Apply For LIHEAP

You are required to provide several documents while applying for LIHEAP. They include:

  • Recent home energy bill
  • Paychecks or other documents that show your gross income
  • Utility termination notice
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent residence
  • Social security card
  • Photo identification (including your household members)

Can You Appeal If Assistance Is Denied?

If your assistance is denied, you can file a LIHEAP appeal. To appeal, contact your local LIHEAP agency provider or your state’s Department of Community Services if any. 

Closing Thoughts

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help you save huge amounts of money spent on paying gas or electric utility bills. If you qualify for this program but haven’t filed yet, then quickly apply as approvals for each month are limited. 

 

 

 

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