Your Guide to LIHEAP

What Is LIHEAP?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps needy family pay utility bills throughout the states. Although LIHEAP is a federal program, each state has a state-specific version and regulations that must adhere to federal guidelines. LIHEAP has limited funds that are provided on a first-come, first served basis. Some funds are more specific to heating, cooling or weatherization assistance. Learn more about LIHEAP benefits and restrictions when you download our guide today.

Who Is Eligible For LIHEAP?

Low-income households that have trouble paying utility bills are eligible for LIHEAP assistance. Although the federal government sets basic income requirements, states can build on these guidelines for eligibility. Typically, the income eligibility is around 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. Although many may be eligible, not all families will receive benefits if the program runs out of funding for the season or year. To find out about LIHEAP eligibility, download our comprehensive guide here.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded, state-administered program that helps low-income families afford utility bills and energy-related home repairs. The name of the program and its details vary by state. LIHEAP is available for families who meet certain income guidelines.

LIHEAP eligibility is based primarily on income and household size. However, some targeted populations, such as young children and the elderly, are given priority. Families can complete a LIHEAP application in person, by mail or online in most states. However, submitting a LIHEAP application online is usually the most efficient way to apply for benefits. For emergency utility assistance, applicants are required to submit documentation. Applicants denied energy assistance must follow an appeals process.

The energy assistance program offers help for both emergency and non-emergency energy needs. Emergency energy assistance includes power shut-off, heating or cooling emergencies, low fuel and weather-related emergencies as declared by a government official. Recipients are limited to only a few requests for crisis-related assistance per year. Fortunately, benefits for these events are disbursed much quicker than for non-emergencies. Non-emergency benefits provide aid to families who require help with electric bill payments because of low income.

However, LIHEAP does not usually pay for all parts of a utility bill. The non-emergency energy assistance program only makes payments toward heating and cooling bills. It is important to keep in mind that LIHEAP sends benefits directly to utility companies instead of giving it to recipients, unless utilities are paid by the tenant to the landlord. Some states also offer LIHEAP enrollees automatic eligibility into the Weatherization Assistance Program to improve energy efficiency within recipients’ homes.

LIHEAP 101

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which is often referred to as LIHEAP, is a program that helps low-income families with their home energy needs. Also known as simply HEAP, this federal program is administered and managed by states, where it may receive different names. Overall, this initiative provides energy assistance to families across the country who are struggling financially. Among the several types of assistance benefits that LIHEAP offers, eligible applicants can receive help with their heating and cooling costs, emergency energy needs and energy-related home repairs.

Get more in-depth information on energy assistance in our free detailed guide.

Residents must meet different criteria in order to qualify for each benefit offered by the HEAP program. One of the most significant requirements that all applicants must be mindful of pertains to their income level. In the case of crisis assistance, there may be additional HEAP guidelines. Furthermore, it is important to note that certain enrollees will be given priority over others due to their vulnerable status. Among the factors that contribute to how much help with utilities recipients can receive from this program, the most significant ones include a resident’s household size, income, demonstrated need and location. Read more

Applying for LIHEAP

Many families in America are interested in submitting a LIHEAP application to receive utility assistance. Thankfully, the program is available in every state, thus, all residents can apply for LIHEAP. There are several methods of obtaining a LIHEAP application form: online, in-person or by mail. Some states may offer a fax or email application process, although this is less common. Residents must provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding their income, utility payments and identities when filling out the forms. Information about each member of the household must be included in order for LIHEAP representatives to award the appropriate amount of benefits.

Get more detailed info on applying for LIHEAP in our comprehensive guide.

After submitting their LIHEAP application, residents can check their status. In many states, applicants who submitted their applications online can access them with their login or personal information. Sometimes, however, Americans are denied LIHEAP benefits. In such cases, there is an appeals process that denied applicants can go through. While several factors determine the acceptance or denial of applicants, the primary factor is the limited government funds available for the program. Read more

LIHEAP FAQs

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program administered at the state, county or city level that helps low-income families pay the energy costs involved in heating or cooling their homes. LIHEAP can also help cover the costs involved in weatherizing a home, or preparing it to be energy efficient during weather extremes. Read more.

Additional Resources

Government assistance benefits such as the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Energy Efficient Mortgage Program help low-income households stretch their energy dollars. Signing up for a home energy audit or additional energy-saving resources can help make life on a limited budget easier for senior citizens, disabled people and households with small children. Learning energy saving tips for summer and winter is also important for those concerned with keeping home energy costs down.

Simple tasks such as substituting energy efficient light bulbs for older incandescent bulbs can help reduce the need for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or other forms of energy assistance. Energy efficient lighting, home weatherization and practicing good energy management techniques at home benefits the community as well as the individual resident. Read more.

State Information

With LIHEAP utility assistance, you receive a payout to assist with the cost of your utility bill. In most cases, you are only provided with a payment that covers a portion of your current bill to help you in keeping your heating or air conditioning on for the remainder of the season. The amount of the payout may vary, depending on how the department calculates benefits for the program. In some states, you may only receive one benefit payment, while in others, you may be eligible for multiple payments in one year.

If you are wondering, “How much does LIHEAP pay?” keep in mind you should review information that is specific to your state. You should also only review the LIHEAP income guidelines that pertain to your location. In some states, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program eligibility guidelines are strict and the application process is thorough. However, in other states, you may only need to meet the residency and income qualifications to receive benefits that will assist you with your heating or cooling costs. Some states even call this singular program by different names. Read more