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Learn About LIHEAP in Illinois

Illinois LIHEAP is a low-income assistance program that is designed to aid eligible households in paying for winter energy services. One-time energy assistance payments are only available to qualifying households and families once per year, with additional benefits available to families who qualify for emergency assistance and weatherization efforts. In Illinois, this program only runs during the winter months and does not help residents pay for cooling costs.

If you need utility assistance in Illinois, then it is important to familiarize yourself with program benefits and eligibility requirements in order to determine what benefits your family or household may qualify for. Additionally, by reviewing the application process, you will know what to expect when it comes time to apply, including the documentation that you will need to apply alongside the application. This can aid in the overall expedition of your application and the reduction of your own hassle.

Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Illinois

By providing heating assistance in Illinois, residents of the state that may have trouble paying the higher cost of utilities during the colder months of the year need not worry about serious illness or death that comes when a home becomes too cold. This low income home energy assistance program is federally funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as well as funded and administered on a state level. In Illinois, the administration of the program is provided by local community action agencies throughout the state.

Before you apply for LIHEAP in Illinois, it is important to review the various types of benefits that the program provides in order to gain a better understanding of the type of assistance you and your household may qualify for.

Heating assistance is the core benefit of this program. Eligible applicants may receive a onetime payment towards a heating utility bill, regardless of the type of fuel that a home uses, each year. Benefits are available to both renters and homeowners who qualify throughout the state. In addition to this general form of assistance, emergency assistance is also available to household’s that meet general requirements, but are also experiencing a crisis. In Illinois, a heating crisis occurs when a utility has disconnected services due to nonpayment. This program also provides benefits for a one-time reconnection assistance after a utility has disconnected services.

The LIHEAP program also provides weatherization benefits through the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP). This program aids in the weatherization of a home in order to help low income residents of the state save money on the cost of fuel by decreasing energy consumption. Services are provided by local community action agencies at no cost to the applicant, so long as the household qualifies for assistance. Weatherization services include, but are not limited to the minor repair of the home, the proper sealing of pipes, windows and doors in order to prevent air infiltration and the installation of insulation in the home.

Find out more about the types of LIHEAP programs available in our free guide.

What are the Illinois LIHEAP requirements?

Before you apply for utility bill assistance for low income families in Illinois, you are strongly encouraged to review eligibility requirements associated with this program. By doing so, you and your household will gain a better understanding as to whether or not you may qualify for benefits. In order to receive benefits in Illinois, you must be a resident of the state. Additionally, all household members must either be U.S. citizens or legal aliens.

LIHEAP income guidelines must be met in order to receive assistance from this program. Therefore, in order to receive benefits, a household’s income cannot exceed the income limit that is applied for the household’s size. Larger households have higher income limits than smaller households. These limits are reassessed on an annual basis and are determined by the current federal poverty line. If you or a member of your household already participates in other benefit programs such as SNAP, SSI or TANF, your household may automatically qualify to receive benefits from this program.

LIHEAP benefits can only be obtained by a household once per year. If you have already received benefits for the year, your household will be ineligible to receive further benefits until the following year.

How to Apply for LIHEAP in Illinois

You cannot submit a LIHEAP application online in Illinois as applications can only be submitted by contacting your local Community Action Agency. In most cases, the agency will have you schedule an appointment to complete an application in person. Special accommodations are made for individuals who are homebound.

When applying for the LIHEAP program, it is important to know that you will be required to provide documentation that will allow workers to verify your family’s eligibility for benefits. Without providing these documents, your application could be delayed or denied altogether. Therefore, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the list of documents that you will need to provide to the Community Action Agency in order to be better prepared for your appointment. The documents that you must provide include:

  • A photo ID for each household member, such as with a passport, driver’s license or state identification card.
  • Proof of income for the last 30 days for each adult household member that is 18 years of age or older.
  • A copy of your most recent heating bill.
  • Your utility disconnect notice, if applicable.
  • Proof of disability, if applicable.

How much could LIHEAP pay in Illinois?

If approved for LIHEAP in Illinois, it is important to know that there are several factors that determine the amount of benefits that you and your household may qualify to receive. Heating assistance amounts are determined by household income, household size, the type of fuel that a home uses and geographical location. However, you will be informed of the amount of benefit that your family will receive if approved.

Utility assistance is paid directly to a household’s utility company once benefits have been approved. Checks are rarely sent directly to a household. Instead, benefits will reflect on a household’s balance with the utility and benefits can be used towards the payment of past due, current or future heating bills.

Find out more about LIHEAP by downloading our comprehensive guide.

How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?

You can view a LIHEAP application status in Illinois by contacting the Community Action Agency that you submitted your application through. Generally, application inquiries can be made by phone or in person. There is currently no way for you to view the status of your application online. If you are approved to receive benefits, you will also receive a notice that will state as such as well as the amount of benefits your household is eligible to receive.