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LIHEAP FAQ Sheets

Table of Contents 

What Is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance for energy costs to low-income households. LIHEAP is a federal program that is administered by individual states, territories, and tribes. In Alabama, LIHEAP is administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

Learn more about LIHEAP by reviewing the federal program fact sheet here.

For more information about LIHEAP in Alabama, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in Alabama?

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs oversees LIHEAP benefits and provides financial assistance for heating and cooling expenses to qualified households. Financial assistance can include payment for:

  • Past-due utility bills
  • Deliverable fuel (propane, wood, coal or kerosene)
  • Disconnection/reconnection fees
  • Repairs and replacements of worn parts on heating units
  • Home weatherization

For more information about LIHEAP’s heating assistance initiative in Alabama, see the 2022 Alabama state LIHEAP Detailed Model Plan here.

About LIHEAP Crisis Assistance

LIHEAP Crisis Assistance, like standard LIHEAP benefits, is a money assistance grant provided to the utility companies of eligible individuals in certain situations.

If your household meets all the eligibility requirements above and has an energy-related crisis, you may qualify for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance.

To determine if the household is in an “an energy-related crisis,” the state considers:

  • The severity of the weather.
  • Household members’ ages, such as younger than five or older than 60 years of age.
  • Aggravation of household members’ illnesses or chronic medical conditions without adequate heating or cooling.
  • Any other circumstances that indicate the household member’s health and/or well-being would likely be endangered if Alabama did not provide Crisis Assistance.

A “life-threatening crisis situation” also qualifies a household for Crisis Assistance. This occurs when:

  • A member of the household is a medical or health risk because of the energy loss,
  • A member of the household has a condition that requires the use of a medical device/medication that requires energy OR
  • A household has no more than 18 hours of bulk fuel remaining during winter when heating is required.

For qualifying households, the maximum annual benefit amount for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance is $1,110 for heating and $870 for cooling.

Learn more about Crisis Assistance on page 12 of the Detailed Model Plan here.

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in Alabama?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will consider:

  1. Your household size and income for the month prior to your application
  2. The fuel type you need (electricity, propane, natural gas, or heating oil)

Also, whether you are eligible for regular LIHEAP payments or Crisis Assistance payments will influence your maximum benefit amount.

As of 2022, the maximum annual benefit amount in Alabama is $880 for heating and $820 for cooling, and the minimum annual benefit amount is $580 for heating and $620 for cooling.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in Alabama

To qualify for LIHEAP in Alabama, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a resident of the state
  • At least one household member must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  • Have an out-of-pocket energy expense from an account opened in the name of the head of the household or their spouse
  • Have an annual income that is less than the LIHEAP income limit for your household size, which is no more than 150 percent of the established Federal Poverty Level. To view the annual income limits, click here.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs prioritizes households with elderly, disabled or young members. Elderly is considered 60 years or older, and young is considered five years old or younger.

Learn more about the LIHEAP financial eligibility requirements in Alabama here.

If you or a member of your family participates in the benefit programs below, then you may automatically be eligible for LIHEAP based on your income:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more here.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Learn more here.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Learn more here.

How to Apply for LIHEAP in Alabama

Eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP heating assistance from October 1st until May 31st (heating season) and LIHEAP cooling assistance June 1st until September 30th (cooling season) each year.

To apply for LIHEAP in Alabama, complete the following three steps:

  1. Gather the documentation and information you will need for the application.

Learn what documents and information you need to complete the process here.

  1. Choose how you are going to apply, whether by phone or in person. 

Find your nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) office and contact information here.

  1. Submit the LIHEAP application and other required documents.

Access the Alabama LIHEAP application here.

Note that applications for Crisis Assistance, for households that meet the state definition of a crisis, can be submitted year-round.

If you have questions about the application process or require assistance, contact your nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) office. Find your nearest CAP office here.

What You Will Need to Apply

When applying for Alabama LIHEAP benefits, you will need to provide:

  • Personal and financial information about yourself and the members of your household
  • Details about your home and its heating and cooling

The state will need the following documents and information to confirm your eligibility for LIHEAP benefits:

  • Names, birth dates and Social Security Numbers for all household members
  • Utility bill information (vendor name and account number)
  • Residence information (landlord’s name, address and phone number, if renting)
  • Income verification for the last three months (paystubs)

Learn more about the documentation needed during the LIHEAP application process here.

How to Check Your Application Status

You can call the Community Action Partnership office where you applied directly to check your application status.

Click here to find your local office and contact information.

What Happens After You Apply for LIHEAP in Alabama?

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will notify you within 30 days of receiving your application if you are approved to receive benefits. All LIHEAP payments are made to the heating or energy provider directly. Benefit payments will not be sent to you.

How to Appeal a Denial of Benefits

If you are denied Alabama LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision by writing a statement to your local Community Action Partnership (CAP) office where you applied within 45 days of when you received the denial. Find your nearest local CAP office here.

If the CAP representative cannot resolve the dispute, you can request a hearing in writing to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. To begin this process, write a letter with your request and mail it to:
Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
Energy Division
P.O. Box 5690
Montgomery, AL 36103-5690

Once the Department of Economic and Community Affairs receives the appeal, they will set up a hearing and notify you of the date, time and location.

If you have questions about the appeal process, contact:

Need More Help?

If you have questions about LIHEAP benefits in Alabama or require further assistance, contact your local Community Action Partnership office. Find your nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) office and contact information here.

You can also contact the CAP Association of Alabama phone line at (205) 227-7688 or email at info@caaalabama.org.

Or, call the Department of Economic and Community Affairs benefits phone line at (334) 242-5100.

View or Download Our Free Guide

While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and compiled a guide that we believe is simple to use and easy to understand. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing detailed information on the process.

Our free LIHEAP Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply for LIHEAP, program eligibility and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.

Last Updated: September 16, 2022