Most states open up their 2017 low income home energy bill assistance programs (LIHEAP) in September or October. Applications can normally be processed at this time, though the exact date will depend on the state where you live and the guidelines in place.
Note that the program is not always called LIHEAP. Some states give it different names, such as HEAP in New York State or Ohio, Fuel Assistance in Virginia, and many others. However no matter then name, they are all part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program.
Key 2017 dates
Once again, the deadlines and dates vary by state. Generally senior citizens and the disabled can apply first, and that can be as early as late August up through the end of September. Generally, the elderly as well as disabled can apply for LIHEAP as of September 1, 2017.
Once all of those applications have been processed, this is when the program opens for others. There are income limits that are based on federal government poverty levels, as adjusted for family size. Generally, depending on the state, other families can apply on October 1, 2017.
Applications for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program are accepted until the money runs out. So if you wait you are taking a chance. As if the demand is high, and if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or federal government does not provide as many grants to the states, then the funds will go quickly, and you will miss out.
We always recommend getting your paperwork organized way before the August 2017 dates. Gather up proof of income from a job or public aid, get copies of identification for all household members, copies of disability filings, age, and more. Any financial data (even saving account information) should be obtained and ready to give to the application site.
How to apply for LIHEAP in 2017?
As we noted, each state is different. This means that the applications may be accepted at different organizations; always check your specific state. We also have a list of phone numbers to dial for each Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program by state. All of the numbers are toll free. Find more details on LIHEAP benefits.
That being said, the most common places to apply at are a community action agency (non-profits) or a Department of Social or human Services office (which are government run). Even if one of these places will not take your application, they will tell you who can in your particular community. Or you can also feel free to dial the Health and Human services Department at 1-866-674-6327.
The income criteria for 2017 are as follows. The applicant’s income needs to be below the following dollar amounts. Note these amounts change each year, but the latest total household income levels are as follows.
Household Size on one is an income is $17,820. Households of two need to be below $24,030. Three people need to be $30,240, four = $36,450, five is $42,660, six = $48,870, seven household members need an income below $55,095 and eight would be $61,335. If your family is more than eight people, then add $6200 for each person greater than 8.
To recap, low income seniors’ citizens and/or the disabled can apply first; often as early as September 1, 2017. Everyone else is after that, and depending on the state, is generally October 1 or until the money runs out. Also note LIHEAP is funded by grants from the federal government and Congress. So there are some years in which more money is available and other years in which the government cuts back on this benefit.