LIHEAP Can Help Pay the Utility Bills When You Can’t -


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LIHEAP Can Help Pay the Utility Bills When You Can’t

LIHEAP is an energy assistance program that was developed over 30 years ago by Congress to assist those who need help with utility bills.

The program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Service and is operated under state agencies.  LIHEAP operates with the federal grant money they receive, as well as private dollars, in order to provide low-income households with assistance for their utility bills.  This program started in the Northeast to address the rising heating costs in the area but soon became prevalent around the country.

In the beginning, LIHEAP only offered help for fuel or electricity bills. The program has since expanded to ensure that low-income families receive the help they need all-year long to live in safe conditions. More than seven million households have been helped since the start of the program. The majority of those who received help have been the disabled and elderly, as well as families who have young children in the home.

Understanding How LIHEAP Works

Those who apply and qualify for LIHEAP will be eligible to receive government assistance to use towards cooling and heating costs. There is also additional support available to those who have energy emergencies, such as in the event of a natural disaster or extreme cold or heat. This program allows for the working poor to receive the assistance they need when they cannot pay their utilities. As many families often have to choose between paying their utility bills or buying necessities such as food and medicine, LIHEAP offers a way to do both.

A grant from LIHEAP also provides low-income families and individuals assistance with residential weatherization projects that can help keep their utility bills low to begin with. They also offer educational programs that are related to energy consumption and savings. The LIHEAP program aims to improve all cooling and heating safety issues in homes that need help. They also aim to prevent any medical issues that can arise because of unsuitable temperatures in the home.

LIHEAP Qualification Guidelines

Every state varies when it comes to the rules of LIHEAP. However, these benefits are usually available for families dealing with a wide range of energy issues. One example is renters who are living in public or subsidized housing. These individuals will still be eligible for LIHEAP if they meet the income guidelines. The government may either provide the assistance directly to the renter if he or she is responsible for the bills, or they may give it to the landlord if the property owner is responsible for heating and cooling costs, allowing them to charge their tenants less rent.

Individuals are typically able to receive LIHEAP help even when they are receiving assistance from other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those receiving help from the Veterans Administration or Social Security may also be eligible.

An individual can receive LIHEAP assistance when they are employed, as long as they do not earn more than the maximum income limit. This limit varies state to state.

LIHEAP Assistance Amounts

The amount of assistance that a person will be given from the LIHEAP program will vary greatly depending on a few factors. One is the state that they reside in and the other is their circumstances. Generally, the amount is determined by the income of the person or family, how many people are residing in the home, and how much heating and cooling costs are. All wages of the adults living in the home are typically considered when applying for LIHEAP.

Other Services Available Through LIHEAP

There are other LIHEAP services that may be available to homeowners and renters depending on their specific location. To find out more, contact the state agency responsible for assistance programs. In some cases, LIHEAP funds may be provided to those who are in danger of having their utilities cut off. Renters and homeowners may also find assistance that will help them replace inefficient air conditioners and heaters in the home, which will reduce the utility bills in the future. LIHEAP and other programs may also provide help to those who have suffered through a natural disaster, such as a tornado, flood, or hurricane.

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