Relieve Energy Costs with LIHEAP

Life is all about dealing with bills. There are many expenses that people need to handle. One bill, in particular, is your monthly energy bill. While not everyone has to deal with this cost, many people do. Energy bills can be hard to keep up with, and when people find themselves unable to pay, they can be faced with their energy being cut off. This includes electricity, gas, etc. Unfortunately, having these energy sources cut off can mean serious danger to the health and safety of households, especially during months of extreme weather. Luckily, there is support out there for people when it comes to energy bill assistance. One opportunity that this article will highlight is LIHEAP.

Your Guide to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP is a program that can help to qualify low-income households to handle the cost of energy bills. Even though this program was created at the federal level by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it is managed locally across the states. That’s because both state and local LIHEAP offices will handle the management of LIHEAP. This program can help eligible households with the following support:

  • Energy-related home repairs
  • Heating energy costs
  • Cooling energy costs
  • Support meant for emergencies like facing a utility shutoff
  • Utility bills

Depending on the location in which the LIHEAP program operates, you may find that the program can provide even more support than what was listed above.

Eligibility Factors for LIHEAP

As we said earlier, this assistance opportunity can only help households that qualify. For a household to qualify, eligibility criteria must be met. For example, income limits that households face include the following:

  • 1 person household has an income limit of $22,590
  • 2 person household has an income limit of $30,660
  • 3 person household has an income limit of $38,730
  • 4 person household has an income limit of $46,800
  • 5 person household has an income limit of $54,870
  • 6 person household has an income limit of $62,940
  • 7 person household has an income limit of $71,010
  • 8 person household has an income limit of $79,080
  • An extra $8,070 for each additional family member after 8

However, there are ways that a household could automatically be eligible for LIHEAP. If the household currently benefits from any of the following programs, they could automatically qualify for this program:

A good rule of thumb is to always confirm with your local or state LIHEAP agency. They will be the ones to have the most accurate and up-to-date information on limitations and program guidelines.

How to Apply?

If you are interested in this program, you will want to submit an application. This is the only true way to determine whether or not you are able to benefit from this opportunity. However, you want to be mindful that the specific application process will vary depending on the state. You can get information when you reach out to your local LIHEAP office. If you find that you are having a tough time when it comes to getting in touch with someone locally, your state LIHEAP office is a good alternative!

Application Documents

When you begin the application process for this program, you should expect to provide documents that verify the information you fill out. We know we may sound like a broken record, but the specific documents that you will need will vary depending on the state. However, you can typically expect to need the following:

  • Identity verification forms
  • Proof of address
  • Social Security number
  • Citizenship status documentation (whether you are a citizen or have a qualifying immigration status)
  • Income verification
  • Evidence that the household is a recipient to another government program

Common Questions About LIHEAP

If you have some questions after reading the above information, then you’re not alone. In fact, there are plenty of common questions that people have when learning about this assistance opportunity.

Can You Use LIHEAP for Your Total Energy Expenses?

When LIHEAP was created, the goal was to provide some support with energy expenses–not just pay for all of the costs. That is why when you benefit from this program, you can expect that LIHEAP will only cover a portion of your bill. For example, let’s say LIHEAP will cover your electricity bills but not your gas bills!

Does LIHEAP Actually Make Energy Bills More Cost Effective?

Yes! LIHEAP makes energy bills more cost-effective. This is done through home repairs that are related to energy efficiency. These repairs are known as weatherization. Once a home goes through weatherization, the new energy efficiency is what results in saving on energy bills every month. Popular weatherization repairs include the following:

  • Fixing or replacing leaky doors and windows
  • Replacing or fixing broken or inefficient cooling/heating devices
  • Installing insulation

Other Support Opportunities Besides LIHEAP

We mentioned some other assistance opportunities in this article that could automatically qualify someone for LIHEAP. These programs are very beneficial, so if you want to benefit from LIHEAP, you may also find some support through these other options:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

When families want to reach financial self-sufficiency then they should consider TANF. This is a government program that can provide cash assistance, child care support, job aid, and more. Through this program, states will receive TANF grant funds from the federal government. Once they receive these funds, they will use them towards operating their own version of the program.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

A common expense that Americans can struggle with is the cost of groceries. However, SNAP may be able to provide some much-needed support. This program provides qualifying recipients with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. This card can be used to buy eligible grocery items. However, it can only be used at stores that accept this card as a form of payment!

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

People can find themselves in some pretty tough situations. Those that have a limited amount of resources with limited income may be able to benefit from SSI. However, in order to qualify, individuals must be either:

  • At least 65 years old or older
  • Blind
  • Have a disability

Through SSI, recipients can get cash support to handle the cost of essentials like clothing, shelter, etc.

Bottom Line

People that have a hard time keeping up with their energy bills may be able to get support from LIHEAP. This is a program that helps individuals with:

  • Energy-related home repairs
  • Heating energy costs
  • Cooling energy costs
  • Support meant for emergencies like facing a utility shutoff
  • Utility bills

To benefit from this program, a household will either need to meet eligibility criteria or be receiving benefits from a different government program. Regardless, the only proper way to find out whether or not you qualify is by submitting an application. For more information, you will want to reach out to your local or state LIHEAP office.