- What does LIHEAP do?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or the LIHEAP is a Federal government-funded initiative that aims to assist low-income households on paying for their electric bills. It is designed to give assistance during winter as the consumption of electricity rises due to the heating demand on each home. However, for places that do not have winter season, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is given to households that could not afford the extra cost of air conditioning during summer.
- How does the program work?
The program usually gives priority to households with low income and high electric consumption. The State shall provide financial assistance to cover for electric consumption of beneficiaries.
- What are the aims of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program?
- To help households with low income to pay for the current electric bill,
- To help households with low income to pay for the previews 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 on the weather condition, thus making their home more energy efficient.
- Are the all programs the same in every state?
Since each state has its own needs, the programs may be different. Some states have Winter Financial Assistance Program. Some have Weathering Program. However, but the basic 4 aims remain the same.
- What types of services are offered in case I am found eligible?
All states offer the basic assistance. To be specific here are some of the common services you can get from your local LIHEAP or HEAP:
- Emergency assistance
- Electric bill payment or subsidy
- Furnace replacements
- Making your home energy efficient
- Furnace and chimney cleaning
- Minor repairs
- Heating assistance, and
- Energy cost reduction devices
Take note that not all of these services may be included in the programs of your state. You may want to check on the particular services that are being offered in your state to get specific details.
- Who can apply for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program?
Any resident of the state where the program is being offered.
- Where do I go to apply for LIHEAP?
Each State that offers this program has designated offices where walk in applicants can apply. Some local County Social Services Offices accept application for LIHEAP. There are several States that provide downloadable application forms. You may want to complete the application before you visit the office to make the eligibility determination process faster.
- When is the right time to apply for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program?
Each State has its own set schedule on when to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. You may check on them as to what particular date you can submit your application.
HEAP BENEFITS AVAILABILITY for 2010-2011 SEASON
Nov. 1, 2010 – Oct. 30, 2011
Nov. 1, 2010 – Oct. 30, 2011
Oct. 1,2010 – Sept. 30,2011
Find the agency in your area that is responsible for taking and processing applications for LIHEAP funds. You can locate the information for your state on the LIHEAP Clearinghouse website or by calling the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project at (866) 674-6327. Contact the local agency and make an appointment to apply for funds. It may be a few weeks or even a month or two before your appointment, depending on how busy the agency is, but keep at it. Ask the person who makes the appointment what information, other than income verification, you will need to bring with you. Bringing the necessary information with you will ensure that the paperwork can be processed more quickly once your application is filed.
- What’s my assurance that I can get the grant after I have applied?
You have to pass the eligibility screening in order to get the grant. The program only serves those who are earning below minimum. Everyone can be accommodated but not everyone can become the beneficiary. You may check out first the criteria of the program to determine if you have the chance to become a beneficiary. Each State has its own set of criteria in order to pass the program.
- Should I pay for the application?
No. Application is usually free, however, you may pay on the services you have made based on your income.
- How long will the application process last?
Each State has its own length of evaluation and processing period. The State of North Dakota for instance usually processes your application within 45 days. Other States give result from 1 week to 2 months.
- After I have submitted by application, what should I do next?
After your application has been processed, you will receive either an email or a postal main stating that you are found eligible or your application has been denied.
Call your fuel company to confirm that they participate in LIHEAP. Some companies do not participate and, if your company does not, you will need to call around to find a company who does participate. If you are unable to locate one on your own, the governing agency can provide you with a list of participants.
- What are the prioritization criteria?
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.