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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 Iowa, LIHEAP is administered by the Community Action Agencies of Iowa.

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

For more information about LIHEAP in Iowa, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in Iowa?

The Community Action Agencies of Iowa 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 Iowa, see the Iowa state 2022 LIHEAP Detailed Model Plan here.

Iowa’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 Iowa defines a “crisis situation” as one where a household:

  • Has a non-working heating system.
  • Is in danger of having their utilities disconnected.
  • Has already had their utilities disconnected by their service provider.
  • Has no more than 20 percent of bulk fuel left.
  • Has a temporary need for alternate shelter.

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 energy loss.
  • A member of the household has a condition that requires the use of a medical device/medication that requires energy.
  • There is extreme weather.

For qualifying households, the maximum annual benefit amount for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance is a one-time payment of $11,500.

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

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in Iowa?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Community Action Agencies of Iowa 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 Iowa is $720 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $40.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in Iowa

To qualify for LIHEAP in Iowa, 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 Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Iowa

Eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP assistance from November 1st until April 30th each year. Households with members who are disabled or 60 years of age or older can submit applications beginning October 1st. LIHEAP applications cannot be submitted year-round. However, applications for Crisis Assistance can be submitted year-round for households that meet the state definition of a crisis.

To apply for LIHEAP in Iowa, 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 Iowa LIHEAP application through 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 Iowa 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.

What Happens After You Apply for LIHEAP in Iowa?

The Community Action Agencies of Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Human Rights. To begin this process, write a letter for the CAA to forward to the Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA).

Once the DCAA 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 Human Rights:

  • Phone: (515) 242-5655
  • TTY: 711

Need More Help?

If you have questions about LIHEAP benefits in Iowa 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 contact the Department of Human Rights benefits phone line at (515) 242-5655 or at:
LIHEAP
Iowa Department of Human Rights
Capitol Complex
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

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 19, 2022