This site is privately owned and is not affiliated with any government agency. Learn more here

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 Illinois, LIHEAP is administered by Community Action Agencies of Illinois.

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

For more information about LIHEAP in Illinois, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in Illinois?

Community Action Agencies of Illinois oversees LIHEAP benefits and provides financial assistance for heating expenses to qualified households. Financial assistance can include payment for:

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

For more information about LIHEAP’s heating assistance initiative in Illinois, see the Illinois state 2022-23 LIHEAP Detailed Model Plan here.

Illinois’s LIHEAP program does not provide financial compensation for cooling expenses. However, it does assist with cooling emergencies if applicants qualify for Crisis Assistance.

About LIHEAP Crisis Assistance

LIHEAP Crisis Assistance, like standard LIHEAP benefits, is a cash 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.

The state of Illinois defines a “crisis situation” as one where a household:

  • Is in danger of having their utilities disconnected within 7 days.
  • Has already had their utilities disconnected by their service provider.

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

  • The temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Reconnection is the only remedy since the household does not have other options.

For qualifying households, the maximum annual benefit amount for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance is a one-time payment of $1,200.

Learn more about Crisis Assistance on page 13 of the Detailed Model Plan here.

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in Illinois?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Community Action Agencies of Illinois 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 for heating in Illinois is $2,020 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $175.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in Illinois

To qualify for LIHEAP in Illinois, 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 Community Action Agencies of Illinois prioritize 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 Illinois 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 Illinois

Eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP assistance from October 1st until May 31st. Community Action Agencies will prioritize LIHEAP applications from households with elderly, disabled, and young children as well as those about to experience utility disconnection.

Note that applications for LIHEAP, including Crisis Assistance, cannot be submitted year-round.

To apply for LIHEAP in Illinois, 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 Agency (CAA) office and contact information here.

  1. Submit the LIHEAP application and other required documents.

Access the Illinois LIHEAP application with your local CAA office.

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

What You Will Need to Apply

When applying for Illinois 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

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 (pay stubs)

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

How to Check Your Application Status

You can call the Community Action Agency office where you applied to directly to check your application status. Click here to find your local office and contact information.

You can also check the status of your LIHEAP application online here.

What Happens After You Apply for LIHEAP in Illinois?

The Community Action Agencies of Illinois will notify you within 30 days of receiving your application if you are approved to receive benefits or within 48 hours if eligible for crisis assistance.

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 Illinois LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision by writing a statement to your local Community Action Agency (CAA) office where you applied within 30 days of when you received the denial. Find your nearest local CAA office here.

If the CAA representative cannot resolve the dispute, you can request a hearing with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. You can begin this process:

  • Online here.
  • By writing a letter to:
    Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
    Office of Community Assistance
    620 E. Adams Street
    Springfield, IL 62701

Once the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity 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 the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity:

Need More Help?

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

You can also call the LIHEAP hotline at (877) 411-9276, or contact the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity at (217) 785-2533 or communityassist@illinois.gov.

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