What is energy assistance? Energy assistance is a program that helps low-income families pay for heating bills. If you live in a warm state, they help with cooling costs. Home heating grants help disadvantaged resident pay for Winter heating bills.
During the Winter months, many low-income families will be eligible for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). You too may qualify for free assistance with power bills. (NOTE: The time to apply for this money is in the Summer).
How the Program is Funded
If you qualify, the Federal government will send you a check each year. The program began in 1981, as an assist benefit to the poorest families with home cooling bills. Congress later shifted the purpose of the funds to cold-weather states to include warm weather states as well.
They are funded with a yearly subsidy to the Department of Health and Human Services. On October 15, 2014, ACF awarded approximately $3.05 billion for home heating grants. This funding is distributed among all states, territories and tribal governments, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The President receives additional funds each year to use for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program at his discretion. Each state that wishes to receive this grant, must apply for a block grant. In conjunction with heating assistance the government’s Home Weatherization program, helps families make energy-saving repairs to their homes.
How Home Heating Grants Help Families
There is nothing worse than coming home to a cold house. However, there are people all over the United States, who go without heat during the Winter months. Often families without electricity, use kerosene heaters and cause deadly fires and loss of property.
You have also heard sad stories of elderly people freezing to death in their homes. If you have been struggling to pay your heating bills, you may be eligible for this help.
You owe it to yourself to find out if you qualify for money for home heating bills, through the Home Heating Assistance Program. If you are receiving benefits from a government agency, talk to your caseworker at the Department of Social Services.
Where to Apply for a Home Heating Grant
If you want to apply for heat assistance, contact your Department of Social Services or a community action agency. They offer assistance from both the state and city levels. Funding is limited and help for families with children and elderly get preferential treatment when funding is limited.
The government funds each state, to distribute this grant to those who apply and qualify for the grant. The Home Energy Assistance checks are sent the first week of February. Money is given on a first-come-first served basis, so it is important to apply between August – September before the money runs out.
How Do I Qualify for Assistance?
You are eligible if your gross family income is, at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Household Number Total Yearly Income:
Or if you are receiving help from a federal program such as:
- Food Stamps/SNAP
- Receiving Medicaid On Section 8 or Federal Public Housing
- Receiving TANF- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Child registered with National School Lunch Program
- Supplemental Security Income SSI
- The program gives assistance with:
- Power Bill Payment
- Energy crisis assistance (prevent utility disconnection)
- Home Weatherization Grants and energy-saving home repairs
Where to get Help with Heating Bills
National Energy Assistance Referral Project at 866-674-6327
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Aerospace Building, 5th Floor West
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447
Phone Number: (202) 401-9351
Fax Number: (202) 401-5661