LIHEAP in West Virginia
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West Virginia LIHEAP is referred to throughout the state as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Children and Families, Office of Children and Family Policy, Division of Family Assistance. It is focused on providing financial assistance to low-income families that cannot afford their utility bills. Additionally, emergency energy assistance in WV is provided through the program for qualifying applicants who can prove they are at risk of losing heating service in their homes.
This utility assistance program is funded by the federal government but the funding provided each year is limited. Therefore, applicants must meet all state guidelines before they are provided with benefits through the program. Before applying to receive financial assistance with heating costs, potential applicants should find out more about the application process and the eligibility guidelines for the program. To learn more about how to receive heating assistance in West Virginia and which benefits are available to qualifying applicants, West Virginia residents can read through the following information.
Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in West Virginia
The West Virginia Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is focused on providing financial assistance for heating to households that are in need. The applicant must prove he or she needs this assistance by providing utility bills and past due notices to the department when applying. If the program benefits are provided directly to the beneficiary, he or she must also prove that the funds were used to pay for utility costs. Since program funding is limited, it is important for representatives to uphold strict regulations to ensure the benefits are used properly and no fraudulent claims are made.
In addition to regular utility bill assistance for low income families in WV, the program also offers benefits for households that need emergency assistance. LIEAP program applicants who can prove they are facing utility shut-offs due to late payments may be eligible to receive program benefits right away to pay for these bills. The program may also provide these emergency benefits if an eligible applicant can prove his or her fuel source is low and the household is in danger of losing heat for the season.
Emergency benefits are only distributed during the months when regular LIHEAP program benefits are no longer available. Applicants for these emergency benefits are also required to meet with program representatives to determine how the program can assist them and to confirm their eligibility to receive financial assistance.
If a household decides to apply for LIHEAP in WV and qualifies for the program, additional counseling and education is also available. Program professionals assist beneficiaries in lowering future utility costs by providing information on energy conservation techniques. To find out more about the financial assistance and educational benefits the program can provide, assistance recipients can review our comprehensive guide.
What are the West Virginia LIHEAP eligibility guidelines?
There are strict LIHEAP income guidelines in West Virginia that must be met by applicants before program benefits are distributed. These income levels are based on the government’s Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and the number of household members in an applicant’s home. These low-income guidelines can change each year since the FPL can also change. When reviewing the low-income requirements, potential applicants should also keep in mind there are certain deductions that may be applicable to the income levels. Therefore, their gross income levels may still allow them to be eligible for benefits when deductions are factored in.
Additionally, to qualify for the program, an applicant must meet the following WV LIHEAP guidelines:
- Be a West Virginia resident.
- Show financial need for assistance paying heating bills.
- Prove he or she is responsible for paying the home’s heating costs.
- Apply when the program is currently accepting applications.
To prove he or she meets LIHEAP eligibility qualifications, an applicant may be required to provide documentation and evidence supporting his or her claims. A program representative may request paycheck stubs, identification or utility bills from an applicant before he or she is accepted into the program.
How to Apply for LIHEAP in West Virginia
You can obtain a West Virginia LIHEAP application online and once completed, you can submit it to a local DHHR office in person or by mail. The application asks for specific information, including:
- Your Social Security Number, name and address.
- The names and birth dates of all household members.
- The amounts of income earned by all adult household members.
- Additional income, such as government benefits or child support.
- A phone number or additional contact information.
In addition to the LIHEAP application form, you may also be required to submit documentation proving your income and other household characteristics. You may need to submit paycheck stubs, recent heating bills or fuel receipts and statements concluding how living expenses have been met in the past. If you turn in your application and additional documentation is needed to determine your eligibility, you will be provided with a deadline to submit this evidence. If you exceed the deadline, you may be denied benefits or you may need to re-apply. To learn more about how to apply for energy assistance in WV, download and review our informative online guide.
How much does LIHEAP pay in West Virginia?
West Virginia LIHEAP receives its funding through a federal block grant. Therefore, program funding is finite and only provided once a year. If there is no funding left for the year, applicants may be denied benefits, even if they meet all eligibility requirements. If there is program funding left and an applicant meets all program qualifications, his or her benefit amount is calculated based on:
- The household’s financial need.
- The average monthly utility bill costs for the home.
- The number of household members.
- Whether or not the applicant needs emergency benefits.
Generally, the amount of energy assistance provided to an eligible applicant is only a portion of the monthly utility bill. The household is responsible for paying the rest of the heating costs. In most cases, the benefit amount is distributed directly to the heating vendor to be applied to the beneficiary’s balance. However, the department may provide benefits to the program enrollee if he or she pays the heating bill through the monthly rent payment.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
After applying, you may want to check your West Virginia LIHEAP application status to see if you were approved for program benefits for the season. You can contact the local DHHR office where you submitted your application to check the status. It can take the office several weeks to process your application. Keep in mind that if the office needs additional information or documentation, it will contact you to request it. It is important that you submit this documentation as soon as possible so you do not delay the approval process.