LIHEAP Low Income Energy Bill Assistance Programs.
The LIHEAP assistance program is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. Financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account is provided to both struggling and lower income households who need assistance paying for their home energy bills. Much of the financial aid goes to paying winter heating or gas bills, with some states offering LIHEAP during the summer months as well for air conditioning as well as electric bills.
The program’s purpose is to assist lower income families, individuals, as well as households living in poverty with meeting their immediate home energy needs. Funds are available in all states listed below on a first come and served basis. Customers can often get help paying for both winter heating bills as well as summer cooling bills, so the LIHEAP program provides year round assistance.
The program will always give priority to those families with the highest home energy needs, which usually means lower income households with a family member that is at risk. Most states will give priority to senior citizens first and allow them to apply before others. Another focus is on homes with high energy and heating bills and/or the presence of a vulnerable individual in the household, such as a disabled family member, a young child, or a frail older individual. LIHEAP gives priority to ensure their power is not disconnected, thus preventing health risks from vulnerable individuals.
There are several forms of energy and heating bill assistance that is provided to low income households through local state governments. The various LIHEAP programs include: emergency bill assistance if a household's home energy service is either shut off or about to be disconnected; financial assistance towards a household's heating or utility bill on a recurring basis; some funds may help pay for utility deposits; and a wide range of other energy-related services are available if a states choose to offer them.
Some governments will also use their funding to pay for utility equipment repair and replacement programs. As LIHEAP may also incorporate, weatherization upgrades and improvements to an older home, new furnaces, financial budgeting counseling and more. The exact services vary by state. Find a listing of programs and how to apply.
Who can receive LIHEAP assistance?
Both renters and homeowners who are responsible for paying their home energy and/or heating bills. The applicant will need to have a low or fixed income in order to be eligible for this support. You do not need to have an unpaid utility bill to receive energy assistance, and you can also receive this money without being on welfare. Each state will also have their own local criteria that need to be met when applying for the LIHEAP - Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but many of the criteria will factor in poverty levels.
What types of assistance are available?
The Cash Grant is available to assist with paying your heating as well as utility bills. In some cases, LIHEAP will issue this form of a payment as a credit on an existing account. Once again, you do not need to have an unpaid bill or to be in crisis situation to receive a Cash Grant.
The other type of assistance is The Crisis Grant. This is for people who have a home heating emergency and that are are out of all other options. The application process has been streamlined for this form of financial aid and it may take a matter of a couple days for the family to be assisted. This Crisis Grant is above and beyond any help that was provided by the Cash Grant indicated above.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may provide you with additional financial assistance or other forms of help with paying the bill to end the emergency. For example, if you are in imminent danger of having your service shut off or are running out of heating oil or fuel, the Crisis Grants can provide you immediate relief. It may also be used to provide for the repairs to a furnace during the winter months.
Emergency situations for the crisis LIHEAP grant include the following. However each state government, or administering community action agency, may have their own criteria.
- Lack of fuel such as heating oil.
- Some states may allow LIHEAP to pay for deposits to reconnect electric or heating service.
- Cooling or heating equipment that does not work, or leaking lines that must be replaced or fixed.
- Termination of utility or heating service.
- Families who are in danger of being without fuel or who may be in danger of having their utility service turned off.
- LIHEAP may on occasion pay for a portion of an utility deposit or reconnection fee to turn the heat or electricity back on in the home.
- Other support is given too, and learn more on LIHEAP crisis grants.
How to apply for low income assistance programs?
There are some conditions that need to be met in order to be able to receive financial aid. You usually need to apply for LIHEAP from a local community action agency or your state government. The application deadlines are usually in the fall, but they can change based on where the family lives. The administration of the programs themselves are run at the state level, but the funds come from the United States DOE. Select your state below. Or the general intake phone number to dial for more information on how to apply for a grant from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is 1-866-674-6327.
If your state is not listed, click here to find a listing of other state government programs, non-profit organizations and community action agencies. Not only may they have information on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), but staff will often have referrals to additional sources of utility bill assistance in a region. Or find how to get help from local charities.
Help from your utility company
Your local utility company can oftentimes direct you to an agency to apply to for LIHEAP. In addition, most energy providers will also offer other programs that are combined with LIHEAP grants. The low income, elderly, unemployed, working poor, and disabled can often apply for their own companywide resources that offer direct financial aid. Click here for more information.
Need Additional Assistance?
Please include your email address and state. It is needed to send a reply to your request for help or more details on LIHEAP. Or visit or register in the community forum (the link is on the margin below) to find more programs or request aid, and we will reply to your request for assistance there.
Send an email to email@example.com Include your state.