Home is usually your family’s comfort zone. Maintaining a comfortable temperature at home will definite promote your family’s health and happiness. If finances for heating your home during winter, or cooling it during summer are not sufficient, help is available from your local government.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (or LIHEAP) is a Federal government-funded initiative that aims to assist low-income households on paying for their electric bills. It aims to:
- To help households with low income to pay for the current electric bill,
- To help households with low income to pay for the previous electric bill,
- To help households with low income to lower down the future electric bill,
- And to help households with low income to improve their homes to adapt to weather condition, thus making their home more energy efficient
The eligible household’s income must not exceed the greater of 150 percent of the poverty level or 60 percent of the State median income. Residents of all fifty States, the District of Columbia, five territories, and about 140 Tribes and Tribal organizations receive LIHEAP grants each year. State and federally recognized Tribes (including Alaska native villages) may apply for direct LIHEAP funding.
Combine your family’s gross income (the amount you make before taxes) and check to see whether the sum is between 100 percent and 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. (As of October 1, 2010-the beginning of FY 2011-, the 2009 HHS Poverty Guidelines and State Median Income Estimates for FY 2011 were still in effect for LIHEAP.)
The federal government sets guidelines for assistance based on income and size of household. The maximum income level for eligibility for LIHEAP is 150 percent of the poverty level, and grantees cannot set their own maximum income levels below 110 percent of the poverty level for that state.
Preference is generally given to households where there are children, elderly or disabled members, and those households that have received a disconnection notice from a utility. LIHEAP grantees have the flexibility of serving households having at least one member who also receives assistance under any of the following programs:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Supplemental Security Income
- Food Stamps. As of October 1, 2008, the new name for Food Stamps is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Certain needs-tested Veteran Benefits.
- Other Eligibility Criteria: Passing an assets test, living in nonsubsidized housing; or receipt of a utility disconnection notice.
Your household’s combined income for the 30 days prior to application is at or below the levels shown in the table below. If you rent, and your heat and/or electric is included in the rent, then your rent must be greater than 30% of your income in order to be eligible to receive benefits.