Georgia LIHEAP Program
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Georgia LIHEAP is a federally funded assistance program that aids low income households with the cost of home energy bills during the coldest months of the year. By providing energy assistance, the state can reduce the risk of safety and health problems, including illness and utility disconnection. Three forms of assistance are offered beneath this program including general assistance, emergency assistance and weatherization assistance.
If you are in need of utility assistance in Georgia, it is important to learn more about this program and the benefits that are offered to qualifying families while funding is available. Additionally, reviewing eligibility requirements can help you to determine whether or not your family may be eligible to receive benefits. Once you are ready to apply, you can reduce the hassle you may face by familiarizing yourself with the LIHEAP application process, including when applications are accepted each year and the documentation that must be provided alongside your application.
Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Georgia
Heating assistance is offered in Georgia to qualifying low income families and households in order to help offset some of the cost of winter utility bills. By doing so, Georgia residents will have a reduced risk to safety and health issues that arise from a lack of heat in the coldest months of the year. This is reduced risk is especially important for individuals who are considered especially vulnerable to illness or death if a home grows too cold, such as those with disabilities, senior citizens and very young children.
This low income home energy assistance program offers three forms of assistance to qualifying Georgia residents. General assistance is provides financial aid in the form of a check that is provided directly to a utility company and deposited on a household’s account. These finances can be applied towards past due, current and future bills from the utility company. Financing is available, regardless of the type of fuel that your home uses for each, including but not limited to fuel, coal, oil, wood, electricity and propane. Benefits are never provided directly to a household.
In the case of emergency energy assistance, an application may be expedited in order to avoid a utility shut off during the winter season. However, it is worth knowing that the benefit amounts provided with emergency assistance is generally the same as general assistance. Both general and emergency assistance can only be granted to a household once per year. Therefore, if you qualify for emergency assistance, you will not qualify for general assistance later and vice versa.
In addition to heating assistance, this Georgia program offers financial assistance towards the weatherization of a home. In most cases, this option is only available to home owners. Weatherization provides energy-related minor repairs to a home, such as the installation of insulation and weather strips as well as the proper sealing of pipes, windows and doors. By providing weatherization to eligible households, those households will have an overall reduction in energy consumptions, which will equate to lower utility costs and the reduced reliance on assistance in future years.
Learn more about the types of LIHEAP assistance by downloading our free guide.
What are the Georgia LIHEAP eligibility Guidelines?
Before you apply for LIHEAP in Georgia, it is worth reviewing the eligibility requirements associated with the program in order to know what to expect of the application process and have a better understanding as to whether your family may qualify for benefits. The LIHEAP program in Georgia can only provide benefits to Georgia residents. If you are not a resident of the state, your application will be denied and you will be referred to your home state’s program. In addition to residency requirements, benefits can only be provided to U.S. citizens and legally admitted aliens.
Utility bill assistance for low income families requires households to meet income guidelines that are determined based on household size and the state’s medium income levels. Income limits are assessed each year and, in order to be eligible for benefits, a household must be at or below 60 percent of the state’s medium income for the household size. Therefore, larger households will have larger income limits.
As stated previously, energy assistance can only be obtained once per year and is only available in the winter season while funding is available. If funding is no longer available when you apply, you may ask to be put on a waiting list.
Regardless if LIHEAP income guidelines are met, financial assistance is not provided to subsidized housing tenants whose fuel cost is included in rental payments as these households are considered the least vulnerable.
To be eligible for emergency energy assistance, a household must be in a crisis, such as after having received a disconnect notice from a utility due to past due balances. If you do not qualify for emergency assistance, you must apply for general assistance.
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Georgia
To apply for energy assistance in Georgia, you must wait until an open application period. Application periods for the general population becomes available on the first business day of December each year. However, if your household contains at least one member who is homebound due to a disability, a senior citizen who is 65 years of age or older, or an individual who has life-threatening circumstances, you may apply as early as the first business day in November.
When applying for LIHEAP, it is important to know that benefits are provided on a first come first serve basis. Therefore, it is important to apply early before funding is depleted, else you may not be able to receive benefits from the program.
To apply for LIHEAP, you must contact your local Community Action Agency by phone. Most agencies will require you to schedule an appointment to visit the location in person so that your household’s eligibility can be determined. Applications cannot be submitted online in Georgia. If there is no one in the household that is not housebound, the agency will make special arrangements to accommodate disabilities.
When submitting a LIHEAP application, you must be able to provide documents that will verify the information that you have provided on your application. These documents include:
- A photo ID, such as with a Georgia driver’s license, identification card or a U.S. passport.
- Proof of income for the last 30 days for all adults living within the household.
- Your most recent heating bill.
- Your disconnect notice, if applying for emergency assistance.
You will be notified if additional documentation is needed to complete the processing of your application.
Find out more about the LIHEAP application process in our free guide.
How much does LIHEAP pay in Georgia?
LIHEAP benefits vary in Georgia based upon several factors, such as household size, household income, current funding and whether or not high-risk individuals are living within the home. If approved for energy assistance or weatherization, you will be informed as to the amount of benefits that your household is eligible to receive.
Generally, utility assistance beneficiary amounts can range between $310 and $350 while funding remains available. As stated previously, benefits are directly paid to a utility and are never paid directly to a household. Benefits will be applied to the household’s account and can be used towards the payment of past due, current and future utility costs.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
After applying for LIHEAP in Georgia, you my only check on the status of your application by contacting your local Community Action Agency. You may contact your local agency by phone or in person to inquire about the status of your application. If approved for benefits, you will also receive a notice stating such as well as your household’s beneficiary amount.