Understanding LIHEAP

People can find managing bills challenging. If you know that feeling, then you are not the only one. A lot of people have found themselves needing help, which is why the government established the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Unfortunately, many people do not know about this program. However, this article can offer some insight on this program and guide you in the right direction, if you are interested in this option.

LIHEAP: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

LIHEAP is an assistance program that was created to support eligible low-income American households. The agency that is responsible for managing this program is the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). There are local and state LIHEAP offices that administer this program, however. This assistance program can help those that are eligible with the following costs:

  • Heating and cooling energy expenses
  • Paying bills
  • Home repairs that are related to energy
  • Support in emergency crises

LIHEAP can provide even more assistance than what was mentioned above. You should know this program will usually not offer support with water and sewer expenses. Fortunately, there are exceptions to that rule. For instance, an exception could include water that is used for air conditioning. If that is the case, then LIHEAP benefits can be used to pay for water bills.

Who is Eligible for the LIHEAP?

It is not possible for everyone to qualify for this program. Rather, people need to meet specific eligibility requirements to receive support. There are a range of ways that people can qualify. For instance, an individual might automatically be eligible for LIHEAP if they also participate in other assistance programs such as:

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

On the other hand, even if you do not participate in an eligible program, you can still qualify. You need to make sure that you have the right amount of income. There are yearly household income restrictions that you need to fall within. You need to consider that the following restrictions are for gross income before taxes:

  • 1 person family has a yearly income limitation of $20,385
  • 2 person families has a yearly income limitation of $27,465
  • 3 person families has a yearly income limitation of $34,545
  • 4 person families has a yearly income limitation of $41,625
  • 5 person families has a yearly income limitation of $48,705
  • 6 person families has a yearly income limitation of $55,785
  • 7 person families has a yearly income limitation of $62,865
  • 8 person families has a yearly income limitation of $69,645
  • For families that are more than 8 individuals, they can add an additional $7,080 for each person after an 8-person household.

The list above is a suitable place to begin when it comes to finding out if you qualify. However, to make sure you have the most accurate and most recent information is through the agency that manages the program in your area. Especially since it is subject to change!

Applying for LIHEAP

If you are interested in applying for this program, you should remember that the process differs based on the state you are applying in. You should contact your local LIHEAP office to get the most accurate information. If it is a challenge for you to contact someone at your local LIHEAP office, then you can also contact your state’s LIHEAP office.

Commonly Asked Questions About LIHEAP

It’s likely you might have questions about this program. These commonly asked questions and their answers might offer you some clarity.

Can You Use LIHEAP Benefits to Pay for Your Whole Utility Bill?

Typically, this program cannot manage all of your energy expenses. LIHEAP was not created to do that. Often, recipients can only receive assistance for their primary heating source. For instance, if your primary heating source was gas, then this program can support your gas bill. However, you will not receive support on your electricity bill.

How Can LIHEAP Decrease Your Energy Bills in the Long-Term?

LIHEAP can help recipients save money on their energy bills in the long-run through home repairs that are related to energy or weatherization. Some popular forms of repairs include:

  • Repairing leaky doors and windows
  • Installing insulation
  • Repairing broken or inadequate heating or cooling equipment
  • Replacing broken or inadequate heating or cooling equipment

Other Assistance Options That Can Support You

Other than LIHEAP, other assistance programs might be able to offer support. There are other programs that can automatically qualify you for LIHEAP benefits, if you already receive support from them. Some of these programs are:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Utilities bills are common challenges for people to face, but groceries are, too! With SNAP, eligible recipients can receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Each month, this card will receive payments that can be used for eligible food products at stores that allow this card as a type of payment.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This assistance program offers financial support to eligible people that have limited or no income/resources. This includes people who are blind, have disabilities, or are senior citizens. The support that this program offers includes financial assistance to help people cover basic needs such as groceries, housing, and clothes.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

This program offers funds to states and territories to work on their version of the program. No matter where the program is, the aim of this program is to support eligible low-income households with kids to achieve economic self-sufficiency. This can take place through financial support, child care support, employment support, and more. Each state administers its own form of this option.

The Final Verdict

When it comes to different assistance options, there are many different opportunities. One option is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program can support eligible recipients with the following expenses:

  • Heating and cooling energy expenses
  • Paying bills
  • Home repairs that are related to energy
  • Support in emergency crises

If you want to benefit from this program, you should contact your local LIHEAP office. In the case that you cannot contact this office, you can always contact the LIHEAP office of your state. Each state has a different version of the program, so they have their own guidelines. This includes eligibility, application process, requirements, and so on. Other than LIHEAP, you can benefit from other programs such as:

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

You have assistance options to think about, you just need to know where to look.