LIHEAP Energy Assistance Program

It can be a challenge for people to manage energy bills. Unfortunately, lights and gas can get shut off when people do not properly manage their energy costs. This could be particularly dangerous during extreme weather conditions, like heat waves and snowstorms. Those that suffer from dealing with energy bills could find a lot of support from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

What is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)?

This program can be really beneficial to those who struggle with energy bills. Households that have limited income can find more affordable home energy services and utility bills with LIHEAP. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for this program, but states manage the program. That means that local and state agencies of LIHEAP are in charge of operating the program. Usually, LIHEAP can support expenses for:

  • Energy for cooling and heating
  • Assistance for utility bills for households that have limited income
  • Repairs for homes
  • Urgent support for tough situations, like utilities that unexpectedly get shut off

Usually, you will not find support when it comes to your water and sewer system costs with LIHEAP.  Fortunately, there are exceptions to that rule!

How Can You Qualify for LIHEAP?

LIHEAP is meant to support those that qualify which mostly means helping those who need energy assistance. A person could automatically be eligible in the case that they already receive support from the following programs:

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

Fortunately, you can be eligible, even if you do not take part in the programs listed above. There are other eligibility requirements such as having a certain income:

  • For a 1 person household, the income limit is $20,385
  • A 2 people household, the income limit is $27,465
  • For a 3 people family, the income limit is $34,545
  • A 4 people family, the income limit is $41,625
  • For a 5 people family, the income limit is $48,705
  • A 6 people family, the income limit is $55,785
  • For a 7 people family, the income limit is $62,865
  • An 8 people family, the income limit is $69,645
  • An extra $7,080 for each individual that has more than 8 household members

The amounts above can change. Additionally, you should make sure that you stay updated on any LIHEAP information from your local LIHEAP agency. You can also verify the income restrictions with your local LIHEAP agency, too!

Applying for LIHEAP

People who are interested in applying for this program should remember that each state has its own version. Other than contacting your local LIHEAP agency, you can also contact your state’s office too.

Documents You Need for the Application Process

Fortunately, obtaining the documents you could need to apply to the program is fairly easy. Some documents you might need to present while you are applying include:

  • Evidence of your identification and Social Security number
  • Verification of your address
  • Your citizenship status
  • Evidence of how much you earn (including tax records or wages)
  • Bank or financial statements
  • Evidence of any federal or private benefits that you are getting at the moment
  • Proof of required support

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

As simple as it is to apply, not a lot of people understand LIHEAP. It is normal to have a lot of questions about the program.

Can LIHEAP Make Energy Expenses More Affordable?

LIHEAP offers weatherization services, which means helping with repairs in your home that are energy-related. The main goal is to make the home more efficient in energy performance which will lead to a decrease in energy bills. Some popular examples of energy-related repairs are:

  • Repairs for leaky doors and windows
  • Replacements for damaged or inefficient cooling or heating devices
  • Repairs for damaged or inefficient heating or cooling devices
  • Insulation installation

Alternative Programs to Think About

Besides LIHEAP, there are other assistance programs that can help you out. As we mentioned before, there are some assistance options that might automatically make a person eligible for LIHEAP. These programs include:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Food is another cost that most people need to manage, which is why SNAP is a popular program. This assistance program offers money to qualifying recipients each month with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. However, the EBT card can only purchase qualifying grocery products at stores that accept these cards.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Those with limited income and restricted resources might be able to find support from the SSI program. Furthermore, there are requirements that people need to meet to be eligible. This includes meeting at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be blind
  • Have a disability
  • Be a senior citizen

Qualifying individuals can receive cash support that can provide coverage to pay for basic needs such as housing, clothing, and so on.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF is a great program for households that require cash support. The federal government offers grants to state governments, which they use to operate their own version of the TANF program. TANF’s main goal is to provide support for households that want to achieve self-sufficiency on an economic level. Other than cash support, this program can also offer assistance for households with child care support, employment aid, and so on.

The Bottom Line

If you cannot properly manage your energy bills, you should consider LIHEAP. Each state has its own version of LIHEAP. This program helps those who need assistance with:

  • Energy for cooling and heating
  • Assistance for utility bills for households that have limited income
  • Repairs for homes
  • Urgent support for tough situations, like utilities that unexpectedly get shut off

To be considered an eligible candidate for LIHEAP benefits, candidates are required to remain in certain levels of income. On the other hand, candidates might be able to automatically qualify if they receive assistance from these programs:

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

If you are interested in applying for LIHEAP, then you should contact your local LIHEAP agency. There is a wide range of opportunities to think about, in case you need support. You just need to know where to find it!