LIHEAP in North Carolina
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The North Carolina Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income residents pay for their energy and utility bills. The program is offered through Department of Health and Human Services, or NCDHHS. It is a federal aid program available in all 50 states, each of which determines the exact program name and benefits. In North Carolina, it is known as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIEAP. This utility assistance program is designed to help low-income individuals and families pay for essential energy and utility bills. To qualify for LIEAP, all applicants must meet the eligibility requirements set by the state. This is verified during the application process. North Carolina residents who qualify for other assistance programs may automatically qualify for LIEAP.
Everyone must apply for LIHEAP in order to determine whether they are eligible for benefits. During the application process, candidates must provide proof of meeting these guidelines. For more information about the program, including how to apply for assistance, continue reading the sections below.
Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in North Carolina
Heating assistance in North Carolina is managed by the NCDHHS. The LIEAP program is designed to help low-income residents struggling to pay their home energy bills by supplying them with one-time payments. There are a few different types of assistance provided by this program.
Regular utility assistance is offered through the program. Approved candidates receive one benefit per season and may qualify for emergency assistance if they meet other eligibility criteria. LIEAP benefits are generally paid directly to the fuel provider, not to the household. The exact amount of benefits distributed to each household depends on their income and household size.
The LIHEAP program in North Carolina also has a special emergency branch of the program designed to provide immediate assistance to qualifying residents. The emergency service is open to households that received a notice of utility shut-off or have already had their heating supply diminished.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a related government aid program that provides important efficiency services to qualified enrollees. Homes that are improperly insulated or sealed generally receive higher fuel bills. Weatherization services like caulking and insulation help lower overall fuel usage, which then lowers utility costs.
Find out more about different LIHEAP programs by downloading our comprehensive guide.
What are the North Carolina LIHEAP eligibility guidelines?
The LIHEAP guidelines in North Carolina are designed to narrow down the pool of applicants into those that are truly in need of assistance. All candidates for the program are held to the same eligibility criteria, which are determined by the NCDHHS. Applicants must provide proof of meeting the income, household size and energy type requirements before they are eligible for assistance. LIHEAP eligibility is determined during the application process. After submitting proof of meeting all the program guidelines, applicants are notified of their eligibility and receive an explanation of their benefit amounts.
The LIHEAP qualifications apply not only to the applicant, but to all members of the household. For example, all members must be U.S. citizens, U.S. non-citizen nationals or qualified aliens. Furthermore, each member must have a valid Social Security number.
Specific LIHEAP income guidelines are outlined by the NCDHHS. These guidelines are held in accordance with the applicant’s household size. During the application process, candidates must report all types of income, which includes:
- Self-employment wages
- Salaries and tips
- Unemployment benefits
- Retirement money and pensions
- Child support
- Worker’s compensation
How to Apply for LIHEAP in North Carolina
Candidates must apply for LIHEAP to see if they qualify for financial aid. They must submit the application during the proper timeframe. Candidates for the LIEAP program must apply at their local Social Services department by their specific deadline. They may not apply for LIHEAP online, as there is no electronic application available. All applicants must completely fill in the form and provide all required information in order to be considered for the program. Incomplete files will not be processed and applicants may experience a delay or denial of their application.
The LIHEAP application form is available at any of the Social Services departments located throughout the state. Offices begin taking applications in December for elderly or disabled persons. All other applicants must wait until February.
It is recommended that you call your local office to schedule an appointment. These offices become very busy during the season, so it is best to make an appointment to avoid long wait times. To receive further assistance with the application, you may call the office and ask about the requirements.
During the application process, you may need to submit a variety of documents proving your eligibility for the program. This includes:
- Proof of current address (i.e. a lease agreement or mortgage)
- Proof of identity for all members of the household (i.e. Social Security cards)
- Proof of income (i.e. a W-2 or federal tax return)
- Proof of citizenship
- Copies of recent energy bills
How much does LIHEAP pay in North Carolina?
Energy assistance in North Carolina is offered through a one-time benefit payment. The amount of this payment depends on energy costs, income, fuel type and household size. Applicants do not receive these benefits directly; the state pays the utility provider directly for the fuel supply. After a candidate applies for the program and receives an approval notice, he or she will be notified of the exact benefit amount.
Find out more about LIHEAP benefit amounts by downloading our comprehensive guide.
LIHEAP program enrollees only receive one benefit each year through the LIEAP program. This payment is not meant to cover applicants’ entire utility bills. However, benefits can greatly reduce the financial obligation of eligible enrollees. There are minimum and maximum coverage amounts allowed by the program. Currently, enrollees can expect to receive benefit payments anywhere between $100 and $1,000. Those who qualify for emergency assistance may receive benefits between $25 and $300. Some utility providers offer a Special Reduced Residential Service Rate Program, which discounts the bill by an additional 20 percent.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
Those who apply for LIHEAP in North Carolina can expect to receive a notice of approval within 30 days of submitting the application. The state must take time to review all applications and confirm the information provided. The LIHEAP application status is not revealed online, though applicants may consider calling the office at which they applied to speak to a state official. He or she may provide information on the applicant’s file.
Those who provide incomplete applications or have missing information may receive a call from state officials explaining any further actions they need to take to complete the process.