The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services LIHEAP website provides more information on the program.
The federal government began providing home energy assistance in 1974. The U.S. Administration of Children and Families Division of Energy Assistance in the Office of Community Services administers LIHEAP at the federal level.
The LIHEAP home heating program has two main components: Subsidy and Crisis. When funds are available, a third component is offered to help with summer cooling costs.
The subsidy component operates in November and December to help residents at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level pay home heating costs for which they are responsible either by direct payment or as an undesignated portion of their rent. In addition to income guidelines, eligible applicants may not have liquid resources in excess of $2,000 except when a household member has a catastrophic illness, in which case applicants may have as much as $4,000 in liquid assets if those assets are used for medical and living expenses.
The crisis component of LIHEAP operates from early January until the middle of March or until all funds are expended. Clients must meet the criteria listed above and be in a crisis situation involving imminent loss of heating energy (applicants must provide a utility disconnect notice); have four or fewer days of fuel oil, propane, kerosene, wood or coal available; or have received an eviction notice citing unpaid rent (applies to applicants whose heating costs are included as an undesignated portion of the rent. Households at or higher than 75 percent of poverty level must pay a portion or co-payment of the minimum amount necessary to alleviate the crisis.
The summer cooling program is only offered when additional federal or state funds are available. It provides eligible households with a one-time payment to the household cooling (electric) provider. Air conditioners may be provided for households where residents are at risk for health problems associated with excess heat.
To be eligible for summer cooling a household must meet the eligibility requirements as described above. To be eligible for an air conditioner, the household must not have access to an air conditioner and meet one of these requirements:
- Have a member with a health condition or disability that requires cooling to prevent further deterioration as verified by a physician statement;
- Have a member 65 years or older; or
- Have a member younger than 6.
Information Needed to Apply
When applying for LIHEAP assistance, you may need the following:
- Recent copies of your utility bills including the account numbers and names for all heating fuel sources and electric.
- A recent payroll stub or other proof of current gross income.
- Documentation showing income from Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, pension funds, disability, etc. You may obtain verification of your Social Security and/or SSI benefits by creating an account on the my Social Security website.
- Final utility termination notice (if you have received a shut-off notice from your energy company).
- Proof of current address (e.g., an unopened piece of mail, rent receipt, lease or deed, property tax bill).
- Proof of total members living in your household (e.g., birth certificates, school records, etc.).
- Social Security cards (or numbers) for all persons living in your household.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
For public inquiries call toll free (800) 456-3452
How do I report fraud?
Please report any information about fraud or misuse of LIHEAP benefits by calling the Office of Inspector General Fraud Hotline toll free at (800) 372-2970.