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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 Tennessee, LIHEAP is administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

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

For more information about LIHEAP in Tennessee, click here.

What Does LIHEAP Cover in Tennessee?

The Housing Development Agency of Tennessee 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 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 Tennessee, see the Tennessee 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 Tennessee defines a “crisis situation” as one where a household:

  • Is in danger of having their utilities disconnected, or
  • 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:

  • 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 $1,500.

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

How Much Assistance Does LIHEAP Provide in Tennessee?

To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Housing Development Agency of Tennessee 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 or cooling in Tennessee is $1,500 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $300.

How to Qualify for LIHEAP in Tennessee

To qualify for LIHEAP in Tennessee, 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 Housing Development Agency of Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee

Eligible households can apply for LIHEAP assistance year-round. To apply for LIHEAP in Tennessee, 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. Contact your nearest agency to find out which application methods are available. 

LIHEAP agencies in Tennessee may allow you to apply for benefits online, by mail, or in person, depending on the county’s available application methods. Find your nearest county Community Action Agency (CAA) office and contact information here. Call ahead of time and ask when it is best for you to submit your application.

  1. Submit the LIHEAP application and other required documents.

Access the Tennessee LIHEAP application here and submit it to your local Housing Development Agency office.

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 CAA office here.

What You Will Need to Apply

When applying for Tennessee 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 directly to check your application status.

Click here to find your local office and contact information.

What Happens After You Apply for LIHEAP in Tennessee?

The Community Action Agency where you applied 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 Tennessee LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision by writing a statement to your local Community Action Agency office within the time allotted in your determination letter. 

You can file an appeal for a Fair Hearing online, by phone, by mail, by fax or through email.

To file an appeal online, visit the Tennessee appeals portal here.

To file an appeal by phone, call (866) 787-8209 or (800) 270-1349 (TTY).

To request a fair hearing through email, send your completed Appeal Request to AppealsClerksOffice.DHS@tn.gov. You can find a copy of the Appeal Request here.

To file an appeal by fax, send your completed Appeal Request (found here) to (615) 248-7013.

To request a fair hearing by mail, fill out the Appeal Request form (found here) and mail it to the following address:
James K. Polk Building
505 Deaderick Street, 1st Floor
ATTN: Clerk’s Office
P.O. Box 198996
Nashville, TN 37219-8996

For more information on how and when to request a Fair Hearing, click here or call the Division of Appeals and Hearings at (866) 787-8209.

To check the status of your Fair Hearing request, click here.

Need More Help?

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

You can also contact the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) phone line at (615) 815-2200 or email LIHEAP@thda.org.

You can find more contact information for the THDA here.

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