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While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the LIHEAP program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
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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 Virginia, LIHEAP is administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Learn more about LIHEAP by reviewing the federal program fact sheet here.
For more information about LIHEAP in Virginia, click here.
The Virginia 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:
For more information about LIHEAP’s heating assistance initiative in Virginia, see the Virginia LIHEAP Detailed Model Plan here.
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 Virginia defines a “crisis situation” as one where a household:
A “life-threatening crisis situation” also qualifies a household for Crisis Assistance. This occurs when:
For qualifying households, the maximum annual benefit amount for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance is a one-time payment of $2,500.
Learn more about Crisis Assistance on page 12 of the Detailed Model Plan here.
To determine the amount of energy assistance for which you are eligible, the Virginia Department of Social Services will consider:
Also, whether you are eligible for regular LIHEAP payments or Crisis Assistance payments will influence your maximum benefit amount.
As of 2020, the maximum annual heating benefit amount in Virginia is $636 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $182. The maximum annual cooling benefit amount in Virginia is $550 and the minimum annual benefit amount is $50.
To qualify for LIHEAP in Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:
The Virginia Department of Social Services 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 Virginia 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:
Eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP heating assistance from the second Tuesday in October until the second Friday in November each year. Likewise, eligible households can only apply for LIHEAP cooling assistance from June 15 until August 15 each year. LIHEAP applications cannot be submitted year-round.
To apply for LIHEAP in Virginia, complete the following three steps:
Learn what documents and information you need to complete the process here.
To apply online, complete the digital application on the Virginia Benefits Portal here.
To apply by phone, call the Enterprise Customer service Center Monday to Friday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM at (855) 635-4370.
To apply in person, find your nearest Department of Social Services (DSS) office and contact information here.
Note that applications for Crisis Assistance, for households that meet the state definition of a crisis, can be submitted November 1 through March 15.
If you have questions about the application process or require assistance, contact your nearest Department of Social Services (DSS) office. Find your nearest DSS office here.
When applying for Virginia LIHEAP benefits, you will need to provide:
The state will need the following documents and information to confirm your eligibility for LIHEAP benefits:
Learn more about the documentation needed during the LIHEAP application process here.
You can call the Department of Social Services office where you applied to directly to check your application status.
Click here to find your local office and contact information.
The Virginia Department of Social Services 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.
If you are denied Virginia LIHEAP benefits, you may request a hearing to appeal the decision by writing a statement to your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office where you applied within 30 days of when you received the denial. Find your nearest local DSS office here.
If the DSS representative cannot resolve the dispute, you can request a hearing with the Appeals and Fair Hearing Unit. To begin this process, access the Appeal to the State Department of Social Services form here and mail it to:
Hearing and Legal Services Manager
Appeals and Fair Hearing Unit
Virginia Department of Social Services
801 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3301
Once the Appeals and Fair Hearing Unit 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 Social Services by:
If you have questions about LIHEAP benefits in Virginia or require further assistance, contact your local Department of Social Services office. Find your nearest Department of Social Services (DSS) office and contact information here.
You can also contact the DSS Energy Assistance phone line at (804) 726-7386. Or, contact the Department of Social Services via the following methods:
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.