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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 Rhode Island, LIHEAP is administered by the Department of Human Services.

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

For more information about LIHEAP in Rhode Island, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in Rhode Island?

The Rhode Island Department of Human Services 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
  • Disconnection/reconnection fees
  • Repairs and replacements of worn parts on heating units
  • Home weatherization

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

Rhode Island’s LIHEAP program does not provide financial compensation for cooling expenses.

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.

For qualifying households, the maximum annual benefit amount for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance is a one-time payment of $1,500.

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

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in Rhode Island?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Rhode Island Department of Human 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 in Rhode Island is $1,201 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $75.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in Rhode Island

To qualify for LIHEAP in Rhode Island, 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. To view the annual income limits, click here.

Learn more about the LIHEAP financial eligibility requirements in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island

Eligible households can apply for LIHEAP heating and crisis assistance usually from September until May each year. To apply for LIHEAP in Rhode Island, complete the following three steps.

  1. Gather the documentation and information you will need for the application.
  1. Visit your local Community Action Agency (CAA). 

You can only apply for LIHEAP in person in Rhode Island. Find your nearest office and contact information here.

  1. Submit the LIHEAP application and other required documents.

LIHEAP regulations, policies, and procedures may vary by county location.

If you have questions about the application process or require assistance, find and contact your local CAA here.

What You Will Need to Apply

When applying for Rhode Island 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 may 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 (pay stubs)

How to Check Your Application Status

You can call the Community Action Agency 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 Rhode Island?

The Rhode Island Department of Human Services will notify you after your application has been 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 Rhode Island LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision by contacting your local Community Action Agency office where you applied after you receive the denial. Find your nearest local office here.

Once the agency 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 your nearest local office or call the Rhode Island Association of Community Action Agencies by phone at (401) 921-4968.

Need More Help?

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

You can also contact the Rhode Island Association of Community Action Agencies by phone at (401) 921-4968.

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 20, 2022