How to Apply for LIHEAP Assistance
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Americans interested in receiving energy assistance should complete and submit a LIHEAP application. Requirements to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program vary from state to state. In some states, applicants submit a single application online to determine program eligibility and receive benefits. In others, applicants must complete a pre-screening to submit an application, or they must schedule an appointment with their nearest office to apply. Submitting a Home Energy Assistance Program application can help applicants receive financial benefits for heating or cooling energy services.
If you are interested in receiving benefits for energy assistance, you should research how to apply for LIHEAP in your state to begin the process. The sections below detail the general requirements to apply for energy benefits online, by mail or in person. Not all states allow you to apply through all options. You may be restricted to a particular method of application depending on your location.
Some states may allow you to apply for energy assistance online through a state website. This is typically the case for states that operate LIHEAP at the state level rather than the county level. The department accepting applications can vary from state to state. However, generally the state Department of Health and Human Services will host and process the application. To apply for LIHEAP online, you typically need to make an account with your state’s benefits program. For example, the state of Vermont requires you to make an account with myBenefits, operated by the Department for Children and Families Agency of Human Services.
Once you create an account, you can begin the process of applying for LIHEAP online. You should expect to provide personal and financial information throughout the application, including your name, gender, marital status, physical and mailing address and more. You will typically need a Social Security Number (SSN) as well. Then, you will need to provide information for every member of your household. Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not be required to include income information for all members of the household, including children. You may also be asked for information regarding how often everyone in the household shares meals and whether anyone sometimes lives elsewhere. You may be asked about your work history or whether you have any disabilities as well on the HEAP application.
On your online LIHEAP application, you should provide information about your income sources. This can include what was on your most recent paychecks, how often you work and contact information for your employer. You will also be asked about how much you pay in rent, energy and other bills to determine your financial need. The level of detail required can vary from state to state, with some requiring a breakdown of income sources and others requiring more general information. Once you complete the application, you should be able to submit it online. You may be required to verify additional information by mail or in person, depending on your state.
Download our comprehensive guide to learn more about the HEAP application process.
Apply by Mail
In some cases, you can apply for LIHEAP by mail or by email. This may be the case if your state operates LIHEAP at a county or district level rather than at a state level. This is also mostly limited to states that have a statewide application form, even if they administer benefits at a local level. To find the printable HEAP application, you may have to visit your state’s DHHS website. In some states, such as Vermont, you can call a number to have a form delivered to you.
When you receive your LIHEAP application form, you should fill it out completely. You will typically be required to fill out information for all members of your household. Be prepared to supply the same information that is requested in the online section above. You may additionally have to include documents like recent pay stubs and utility bills to complete your HEAP program application.
Contact your local LIHEAP office to determine whether you should submit originals or copies of documents included in the application. Mark your envelope and mail it with the appropriate postage to the address indicated on your form or your nearest office. After submitting your application, you should receive a decision on whether you receive LIHEAP benefits within a few weeks, depending on your location.
In some cases, you can submit your Home Energy Assistance Program application through email. Rather than including copies of necessary documents, you should include scans and attach them to the email as necessary. Research your municipality’s specific instructions to determine if you can email your application and where you should send it.
Apply in Person
Many states and municipalities require you to apply for energy assistance in person. This is particularly true of states that operate LIHEAP at the local level. States like Texas require you to make an in-person visit to an agency to get approved and submit an application for benefits. In some cases, you may be required to bring everyone in your household or provide signatures from the adults.
You can find LIHEAP application locations on your state’s DHHS or LIHEAP website. You may be required to schedule an appointment with the LIHEAP agency first. In that case, you can either schedule an appointment online or by calling the office directly, depending on your state. Schedule an appointment with the agency nearest to you and begin gathering necessary documents. This may include pay stubs, rental verification if you rent and utility bills to demonstrate your need for assistance. In some states, you must locate a printable LIHEAP application and fill it out to bring with you to your appointment. In others, you will not fill out an application until you arrive at the appointment.
Arrive at your appointment on time to complete the fuel assistance application. Bring all your necessary documents with you to the appointment, as well as any household members that are required. Depending on your state’s process, it may take more than one visit to complete the application process.
Once your application is processed, your power provider will typically receive a single one-time lump sum payment. This payment may be to settle debts or to cover part of your electricity bills for the season. To learn more about how to apply for low income electricity benefits, download our comprehensive guide on LIHEAP.