The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that helps people pay for their heating and utility bills. Residents of Pennsylvania can apply for LIHEAP each and every year, typically beginning in November. There are two main components, one being cash grants and the second is crisis grants.
The first type of aid, cash grants, are provided by LIHEAP to individuals and families. The primary beneficiaries of these grants are low and moderate income households, the elderly, and disabled. The funds are intended to help people pay for their home heating fuel and bills. The second type of assistance, crisis grants, are used to address heating emergencies, such as a family who is about to have their service turned off, or if they are about to run out of fuel.
Many Pennsylvanians continue to struggle, in particular with the weak economy. The low-income home energy assistance program offers relief when individuals and families need it the most. The state encourages people to take advantage of the program so they can stay warm and safe throughout the coldest months of the year.
Hundreds of thousands of families take advantage of the program. During 2008-09 winter season, about 550,000 families were assisted by the cash grants. In addition, almost 250,000 people received crisis grants from LIHEAP. While the amount provided to each person will vary, the amount of the cash grants offered are based on household income, the type of heating fuel a house uses, the region they live, and the number of people in the family. Crisis grants are provided to resolve heating emergencies or unexpected fuel shortages, so the amount paid for a crisis will also vary.
Families do need to apply. In addition to records and documents that show proof of income, their residency, citizenship, birth dates and Social Security Numbers for all household members, applicants need to also provide a recent heating or utility bill or a recent statement from their fuel dealer. The statement must verify their customer status as well as the type of heating fuel they use.
There are many different places to apply and to learn more. Applications are available at local utility companies, county assistance offices, and community service agencies, such as Area Agencies on Aging or community action agencies.
If you are a resident of one the counties listed below, you should contact the agencies that operate the crisis component in your local area:
Like this site?