Who is eligible for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program? How can I apply?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available to assist families keep their energy costs down. How does one apply to receive the funds?
For low-income families, winter can be a very hard time, as temperatures drop and their reliance on heat increases. To help offset the increased spending on energy costs, the federal government established the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The LIHEAP turned forty years old in 2021.
Funds from LIHEAP are available year around and are distributed through individual states and tribes. This program helps to "reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices." In 2014, around 6.1 million households received funding through LIHEAP. However, this is only a fraction of the almost forty million that were eligible but unable to access funds. That same year the average household was given around $315 to cover their energy costs.
How to contact my local Low-Income Energy Office?
Through the links above you will be able to find the state office that administers the LIHEAP. However. for questions related to your local Low-Income Energy Office, you can call the National Energy Assistance Referral's (NEAR) toll-free number at 1-866-674-6327.
Who is eligible?
States are allowed to set their eligibility standards but federal guidelines ensure that the funds are available to families who have "incomes at or below 150% of poverty or 60% of state median income, whichever is higher, although states may set lower limits." Also, those with at least one member of the household who receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are also eligible.
While at the federal level there are no requirements related the total amount of assets owned by a household, some states have implemented their own rules.
What types of funds are available through the LIHEAP?
There are two types of funds that program is tasked with distributing. The first known as "regular funds," which are also known as formula or block grants "are allocated to all states using a statutory formula." The second type are "emergency contingency funds" which are allocated during times of emergency.
Additionally, grantees who receive funds can use up to fifteen percent on weatherization project for their home and should decrease their overall consumption. Households are able to use five percent for "services to reduce the need for energy assistance (e.g., needs assessment, counseling on how to reduce energy consumption)."