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 North Carolina, LIHEAP is administered by the Department of Social Services.

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

For more information about LIHEAP in North Carolina, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Social Services 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
  • Disconnection/reconnection fees
  • Repairs and replacements of worn parts on heating units
  • Home weatherization

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

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 North Carolina defines a “crisis situation” as one where a household:

  • Is currently experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency due to a lack of heating or cooling.
  • Is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency due to a lack of heating or cooling.

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 a one-time payment of $600.

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

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in North Carolina?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the North Carolina Department of Social Services 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 and cooling in North Carolina is $500 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $300.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in North Carolina

To qualify for LIHEAP in North Carolina, 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 130 percent of the established Federal Poverty Level. To view the annual income limits, click here.
  • Have reserves at or below $2,250

The North Carolina Department of Social Services prioritizes households with elderly, disabled or young members. Elderly is considered 60 years or older.

Learn more about the LIHEAP financial eligibility requirements in North Carolina 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 North Carolina

Eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP assistance from January 1st until March 31st each year. Households with at least one person who is age 60 or older or disabled may begin to apply for benefits beginning December 1st.

LIHEAP applications cannot be submitted year-round.

To apply for LIHEAP in North Carolina, 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 Department of Social Services office and contact information here.

  1. Submit the LIHEAP application and other required documents.

If you have questions about the application process or require assistance, contact your nearest Department of Social Services office. Find your nearest office here.

What You Will Need to Apply

When applying for North Carolina 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
  • Proof of identity for the person who is submitting the LIHEAP application
  • A copy of your most recent heating bill
  • Residence information (rental agreement, lease, mortgage statement)
  • Income verification (pay stubs)

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

How to Check Your Application Status

You can call the Department of Social Services office where you applied to check your application status directly.

Click here to find your local office and contact information.

What Happens After You Apply for LIHEAP in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Social Services will notify you after your application is processed 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 North Carolina LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision within 60 days of receiving the denial. To appeal a decision, you must contact your local Department of Social Services office. Find your nearest local office here.

If you have questions about the appeal process, contact the Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 662-7030.

Need More Help?

If you have questions about LIHEAP benefits in North Carolina or require further assistance, contact your local Department of Social Services office. Find your nearest Department of Social Services office and contact information here.

You can also contact the Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 662-7030.

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