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LIHEAP can provide needed help with utility and heating bills.

LIHEAP is a program that was started at the federal level and it is funded by all states, the federal government, and other organizations. It will provide help with paying electric, utility, and heating bills to those in need.

While financial assistance can help a qualified household during a difficult period, LIHEAP is often offered at the same time as energy conservation programs such as weatherization. In reality, saving energy is more important as it leads to long term self-sufficiency. Also, find out how to easily save about $200 per year with a low cost, easy to install programmable thermostat.

The LIHEAP program helps with paying summer cooling bills and also winter heating bills of the elderly, those with lower-incomes, and also those who may be facing a financial hardship. During extreme weather  conditions, whether hot or cold, those struggling or living in poverty as well as the low-income elderly should not have to choose between buying fuel to cool or heat their homes and choosing food for their families and themselves.

How to apply for LIHEAP

Energy bill assistance is usually provided by not-for-profit agencies or social service organizations. One of the most common places to apply at, for either applications or more information, are local community action agencies, which will be located throughout the state you live and are located in every county. You may contact these various agencies, companies or any other agency provider in your area.

There will be a process in place that needs to be followed in order to apply for any assistance you may need with paying bills. If a community action agency does not assistance, then find details from other sources on the LIHEAP program for your state, and other state aid programs that may help you with paying energy as well as other bills.

The total amount of any help and benefit you will receive is typically determined by your household size, income, your fuel type, and also your geographic location. It also depends on government funding levels, both at the state and the federal level.







How much can I receive?

There are two main components. One is the Cash grant, and the other is the Crisis grant. The LIHEAP Cash grant will provide ongoing assistance, while the Crisis grant is used to provide help if someone has received a disconnect notice or if they are low on heating fuel. Any funds from the crisis program can usually be paid out to applicants in less time.

The good news is that you may apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Crisis grant more than once per year. You can reapply up until you have received the maximum amount for that particular year. Emergency situations include:

  • broken or malfunctioning heating equipment or leaking lines which need to be fixed.
  • utility or heating service termination.
  • being without fuel or heating oil.
  • imminent danger of being without oil, fuel or if you may have have your utility service terminated.

Note that emergency assistance is available 24 hours per day.

How much each applicant will receive varies. It will depend on your household income, how many people live in the home, and what region of the country and even the state you live in. Another key factor is government funding, as the federal government and states need to fund the program on an annual basis. If someone pays a larger percentage of their overall income towards their heating bills, then they more than likely will benefit further from the LIHEAP program.

By Jon McNamara

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