Government Assistance for Utilities and Weatherization

In 1981, a federal program administered by the United States Federal Social Service called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was approved by Congress to assist low income families in paying their immediate energy bills. The program is funded by grants from the federal government and is now overseen by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

What does LIHEAP do?

The program is designed to help very low income households pay for the expense of heating or cooling their homes. It also educates and helps people to weatherize their homes by paying for specified home improvement to make their homes more energy efficient.

LIHEAP also helps people stay warm in the winter months and cool in the summer through implementing programs that reduce health and safety problems associated maintaining a proper temperature in the home.

Most states will use LIHEAP funds to help you pay for your energy bills for heating or cooling your home while offering additional assistance in cases of an energy crisis.

What other services does LIHEAP provide?

Each state operates LIHEAP differently from every other state. The LIHEAP office where you live can assist you in understanding the services they offer which includes:

• Help in paying overdue heating or cooling bills

• Provides emergency services like utility shutoffs when there is an energy crisis like a violent storm or flood.

• Assists you in weatherizing your home with wall and roof insulation, weather stripping around doors and windows and other energy saving device to you your home energy efficient. Better energy efficiency means lower utility bills.

What portion of my utility bill will LIHEAP pay?

The amount of money LIHEAP will pay toward your utility bills depends on several factors: which state you live in; your income; your energy costs and your family sizes.

How can LIHEAP help me to lower future energy bills?

LIHEAP determines what portion of their federal funds can go to the cost of energy related repairs for homes each year. The types of repairs and improvements they are willing to help fund include:

• Fixing doors or windows that leak water or cool and hot air

• Install insulation where it is most needed

• Repair or replace broken or low-efficient furnaces or air conditioners.

Rental homes or apartments are not eligible for LIHEAP weatherization assistance unless the landlord agrees to pay for a sizeable portion of the cost.

I already receive SNAP and TANT. Can I still qualify for LIHEAP?

LIHEAP can help households that already receive assistance from other programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Citizens receiving some sort of Supplemental Security or various veterans benefits are also eligible for LIHEAP assistance. Understand that not all states abide by this system. For those states that do, you will have to fill out an application in most cases.

What is the maximum amount of money I can earn through employment and still receive LIHEAP benefits?

Each state sets its own income limits. The most income you can make and still receive LIHEAP benefits depends on which state you live in and how many people live permanently live in your home.

If I rent or live in subsidized or public housing, can I receive help from LIHEAP?

Yes, renters are eligible for LIHEAP assistance. Some renters choose to pay for their energy costs directly and get reimbursed. Others prefer to receive payment through a lower rent arrangement with the landlord.

Contact Information to determine if you qualify for LIHEAP assistance:

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Phone Number: (202) 401-9351
Fax Number: (202) 401-5661

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