LIHEAP in South Dakota

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South Dakota LIHEAP is referred to throughout the state as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) but is sometimes simply called the Energy Assistance program. Through government funding, this program is able to provide financial assistance to low-income residents who are struggling to pay their heating bills. Since the state’s winter months can bring extremely low temperatures, this energy assistance allows low-income households to keep their homes heated and comfortable.

In addition to regular SD utility assistance, the program also provides emergency benefits to low-income residents who are facing the possibility of losing utility services altogether due to unpaid bills or low fuel. While regular heating assistance benefits are provided at only certain times in the year, these periods are extended for applicants who need emergency benefits. To find out more about how this program assists residents, the eligibility guidelines and the application process, review the information below.

Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in South Dakota

The South Dakota LIHEAP program, or LIEAP, provides regular benefits annually from October to May. Eligible applicants can receive financial assistance to pay for their utility bills through this program. The assistance provided usually does not cover the entire monthly heating bill but is instead meant to pay a portion of it. The household is then responsible for the remainder of the utility bill. In addition to these regular benefits, the program also provides eligible applicants with emergency benefits or weatherization services.

Emergency Energy Assistance

Emergency benefits are only provided to applicants who can prove they are in danger of losing their heating services or have other reasons that financial assistance is needed as soon as possible. In addition to meeting the regular SD LIHEAP income guidelines and eligibility qualifications, an applicant for emergency assistance must prove one of the following:

  • The household has received a cut-off service notice for the primary heating source.
  • The household does not have enough fuel to heat the home and has received a notice that no delivery will be made.
  • An eviction notice has been served because heat is included in the rent or mortgage and the household has a balance due.

Residents can apply for LIHEAP emergency benefits throughout the year, but they must submit proof that they are eligible for these benefits before financial assistance is provided.

Weatherization Program Benefits

In addition to providing utility bill assistance for low income families in South Dakota, the LIEAP program also includes a Weatherization Program for eligible applicants. Community action programs assist qualified applicants by completing weatherization tasks, such as resealing doors and windows. Homes that have been weatherized are more energy efficient. These residents benefit from the program by receiving more affordable utility bills after these tasks have been completed.

These weatherization tasks are completed for free but are based on household need and the program funds available. Therefore, residents may be placed on waiting lists for the program. Priority for weatherization is given to elderly residents, applicants with disabilities and households with children.

To learn more about weatherization tasks completed through the LIHEAP program, read through our comprehensive guide.

What are the South Dakota LIHEAP eligibility guidelines?

An applicant must prove he or she meets South Dakota LIHEAP guidelines before financial assistance is awarded through the program. The most important eligibility factor taken into consideration is the applicant’s household income. The applicant must meet low-income guidelines for program approval. These guidelines are set annually and are based on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is determined by the government. The household’s gross income is used to determine eligibility. This is the income earned by all adult members before deductions and taxes.

In addition to the LIHEAP income guidelines in SD, an applicant must be a South Dakota resident and must prove his or her need for financial assistance for heating costs. To be considered for benefits, the applicant must thoroughly complete the program application process, including submitting all mandatory paperwork and providing documentation to prove statements made on the application.

How to Apply for LIHEAP in South Dakota

While you cannot apply for energy assistance online in South Dakota, you can obtain an application on the department’s website to complete at home. Once you have completed it, you can mail the application to the main office or submit it in person. If you prefer to apply for LIHEAP in person, you can also visit the main office and speak with a representative.

The SD LIHEAP application form asks for specific information, including your household income and information on all family members you live with. You will also need to provide information on other government benefits you receive and your heating costs. When you turn in your application, you are required to attach documentation to prove the statements you made are true. These documents may include:

  • Proof of income.
  • Proof of heating costs.
  • Child support documentation, if applicable.
  • Government benefit statements, if applicable.

To find out more about what is requested on the LIHEAP application and the application process, review our informative guide.

How much does LIHEAP pay in South Dakota?

If you are approved to receive energy assistance in South Dakota through the LIEAP program, you will receive a benefit letter in the mail. This letter will inform you about the benefit amount you are qualified to receive. This amount is based on:

  • Your household’s need.
  • Where you live.
  • The number of household members living with you.
  • The current availability of funds for the program.

Usually, the benefits provided are a portion of your utility bill. These funds are generally distributed directly to your utility company to be put toward your unpaid balance. Keep in mind that these funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, even if you meet the LIHEAP eligibility guidelines, you may not be awarded benefits if funding is low.

How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?

To check on your LIHEAP application status in SD, you can call the Office of Energy Assistance during regular business hours. Keep in mind that it can take weeks for the office to process your application and determine if you are eligible for benefits. If you applied for emergency benefits, however, you should receive a response from the department much sooner.