Indiana LIHEAP, known as the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) within the state, is a low-income assistance program that can aid households in paying for heat and electric bills. This program is federally funded and safeguards the health and wellness of low income Indiana residents, especially those that are considered more vulnerable, such as senior citizens, young children and individuals with disabilities. The program offers a number of benefits, including financial assistance towards heating and cooling costs, weatherization efforts and emergency assistance.
If in need of utility assistance in Indiana, it is worth reviewing the various benefits that the program provides to qualifying residents. Additionally, by reviewing eligibility requirements associated with the program and the LIHEAP application process, you may be able to determine whether your family will qualify for benefits and you will be better prepared for your application.
Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in Indiana
In Indiana, cooling and heating assistance is provided to low income residents who qualify while funding is available. The program begins each year in the coldest months of the year with an emphasis on providing assistance with the cost of heating bills over cooling ones. This low income home energy assistance program can only provide benefits to a family once per year. However, if a household is approved to receive heating benefits, cooling benefits will automatically be applied to the household’s utility account the following summer, so long as funding is still available. If funding is not available, cooling benefits will not be applied.
LIHEAP does not provide complete coverage for all utility costs that are incurred. Instead, general benefits include a one lump sum payment that is applied directly to a household’s utility account in order to help offset the cost of utilities. This amount will be applied towards past due, current and future heating and cooling bills with the utility.
In addition to general energy assistance, the program provides emergency assistance in order to avoid a household’s disconnection from a heating or cooling utility. In many cases, qualifying households can receive an expedited application in order for local agencies to attempt to intervene with the disconnection of a utility due to nonpayment. Similarly to general assistance, emergency assistance can usually only be provided to a household once per year.
While utility assistance is the most common form of benefits that the program provides in Indiana, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps homeowners weatherize homes in an energy conservation measure that will likely reduce utility bills incurred from the home due to a lowered use of energy. WAP aids low income families in an overall reduction of utility bills and thus decreases that family’s likelihood to need assistance in the future.
If eligible for the LIHEAP WAP program, your household will likely be put on a waiting list for a period between two and 24 months due to the high demand of the program. Once it is your households turn, a state-trained energy auditor will visit your home to perform a comprehensive energy audit. The results of this audit will help your local agency determine the weatherization efforts that must be made in order to make your home more efficient. Weatherization services are than performed on the home at no cost to you or your family.
If eligible for LIHEAP, it is important to know that the program provides free window air conditioners to individuals who meet additional qualifications. In order to potentially receive a free window unit, your home must not have central air conditioning and at least one member of your family must have a qualifying medical condition. Air conditioner benefits can only be received, at most, once every five years, except in extreme circumstances such as flood, tornado or fire.
Find out more about LIHEAP in our comprehensive guide.
What are the Indiana LIHEAP requirements?
Before you apply for LIHEAP in Indiana, it is very important to first review eligibility requirements associated with the program in order to determine whether you and your family might qualify for benefits. The Indiana LIHEAP program is designed to provide assistance to Indiana families and households and, therefore, you must be a resident of the state in order to receive benefits. Additionally, you and each of your household members must be United States citizens or lawful alien residents.
LIHEAP income guidelines ensure that benefits are being distributed to those who need it the most. In order to receive benefits, you must not exceed the income limits that are in place for your particular household size. However, it is worth knowing that larger household sizes will have larger income limits.
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Indiana
To apply for utility bill assistance for low income families in Indiana, you must contact your local service provider, be that a community action agency or a participating social services location. At this time, applications cannot be submitted online. Instead, you will need to submit a completed application by mail or apply in person by appointment. If you are applying for emergency assistance, it is strongly recommended that you call and make an appointment immediately in order to attempt to avoid a disconnection of your utility services.
When you apply for LIHEAP in Indiana, you will be required to provide your local office with various documents that are required to complete your application and determine your household’s eligibility for benefits. Without these documents, your application may be denied. The documents that you will need to provide to your local office include:
- Proof of income for the last three months of all household members who are 18 years of age or older, except for full time students.
- Proof of full time enrollment in a school for students who are 18 years of age or older and have income.
- Proof of any benefits that you receive, such as Social Security, SSI or Disability.
- If your household has not had any income for the past three months, you must complete a Zero Income Affidavit and a DWD Work One form.
- A photo ID for the primary applicant, such as a driver’s license, identification card, military ID or passport.
- Social Security cards from all household members.
- A copy of your most recent utility bill for heat and electric or, if utilities are part of rent, you must provide a current lease of Landlord Affidavit signed by your landlord.
- A disconnect notice from your utility, if applicable.
To learn more about the LIHEAP application process, download our free guide.
How much could LIHEAP pay in Indiana?
Indiana LIHEAP benefits will vary based on several factors such as household size, household income and current funding. However, you will be notified of the amount of benefits that you and your household are eligible to receive if you are approved for benefits. As stated previously, energy assistance is automatically applied to a household’s utility account balance. This balance can then be used towards the payment of past due, current and future utility bills.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
You can review a LIHEAP application status in Indiana by contacting the local service provider that you submitted your application to. Depending on the county that you live within, this will either be a community action program or a social services provider. You may contact that provider by phone or in person to inquire about the status of your application. If you are approved for benefits, you will also