How to Get Help with Utility Bills! Need emergency help with utilities? No matter where you live in the US, there are national programs that assist with utilities. Local, state agencies as well as government grants to help you pay past-due utility, electric, and oil bills. You can get assistance from government agencies as well as a community organization or charities like Goodwill Industries, Catholic Charities and other not for profit agencies. If you are a low-income wage earner you may need financial help with rent or utilities.
Get Help with Utility Bills and More
The first place you want to seek help is your utility company. Many utility and electric companies work with the government to help implement programs to help low-income families with emergency help with utility bills. To prevent your services being turned off, contact your utility company, as soon as you know you are having a problem paying. They can set up a payment plan by splitting a 12-month bill cycle into equal amounts, so you will know exactly what you owe. Talk to your utility company, to see how they can help you. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also helps with utilities, rent as well as security deposits.
Here is a List of Organizations that Help with Utility Bills
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- The LIHEAP grant aids low-income consumers with a one-time check to help with heating or utility bills. You may qualify even if you work, as long as your income meets Federal Poverty Guidelines. Checks are sent out the first week of January, made out in the consumer’s name. They also provide emergency help families struggling to pay heating bills. This money can help consumers to begin the new year with a zero balance. There are other locations such as churches, school and community agencies that can enroll for this benefit. (more)
The Heating System Repair and Replacement Program (HEARTWAP)
- HEARTWAP is a program that helps low-income residents repair or replace heating and cooling system as well as water heaters. Eligibility for HEARTWAP is based on gross family income, which cannot exceed 60% of the Estimated State Median Income. Services are only available to homeowners. Landlords do not qualify. Repairs or replacements of heating systems are done in the Winter and must be an emergency situation. To apply for HEARTWAP, contact the Fuel Assistance agency in your city for an application for more information.
Home Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
- Weatherization Assistance (WAP) offers grants to pay for necessary home repairs to help low-income families remain in their homes. The program allows homeowners to make repairs, that make the home more energy-efficient and lowering energy bills. WAP is funding by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). (more)
DSS Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA)
- Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA) – These benefits help adults receiving Supplemental Security Income to help with an emergency situation, such as help with rent, electric or utility payments. EAA helps already fragile people to maintain stability and prevent homelessness. They can receive support such as: pay utilities, emergency housing, moving expenses.
Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF)
These benefits help low-income families facing a financial, physical or family emergency situation. The family must have a child under the age of 18 or 19 and be attending school full-time. A pregnant woman is eligible to apply for EAF benefits. Finances are provided to help with:
- heating fuel
- Stop evictions
- Utility disconnection
- safe housing for domestic violence
Energy Crisis Interventions Program (ECIP)
- The Energy Crisis Interventions Program helps families low-income families prevent electric and utilities from being disconnected. They also help with the reconnection of services. Many families have elderly and disabled members using electric-powered medical equipment such as oxygen, chair lifts, hospital beds, dialysis, and other lifesaving equipment. When you about to have your electricity disconnected, they can intervene on your behalf, by contacting your Power Company informing them, they will be handling the past-due amount. Contact DSS to find out what local community organization that gives out and receives applications.
- Local agencies and charities that offer emergency help with utility bills. If your electricity or utilities are disconnected. These agencies can help you stop the disconnection or get your services restored. These organizations provide financial assistance to low-income families. Most of these organizations are nationwide but also located in most communities in the United States.
State Assistance Programs
- If you are too late to register for LIHEAP this year, there are other government programs that can help with heating and utilities. Always check with your power company to see what programs they offer, to help you manage and save on your bills. Take advantage of the energy efficient light bulb program. You can receive free energy saving bulbs, to help lower electricity usage.
Charities and Community Organizations Help with Past-Due Utility Bills
Charities and community programs assist you to maintain the stability of your family. They help prevent eviction, utilities, food or clothing. These non-profit organizations and charities, work all year round to bring support and emergency assistance to the less fortunate. These financial grants are given out based on gross family income, and the availability of funds. You will receive a portion of the amount needed to keep your lights on or get services restored. Sometimes you will need to go to more than one organization to get the whole bill paid. Funding is not infinite and there are types during the year like the Winter when many are need of services and funding may run out.
Do you Quality a Home Weatherization Grant?
If you receive Supplemental Security Income, VA disability Aid to Families with Dependent Children, you are eligible to receive a weatherization grant. Contact the government agencies above, for a full list of qualification for the program. Apply Here.
Who is eligible?
- Families with children
- A household with disabled people
- People over 60 years of age and older
- Gross family income at or below Federal Poverty Guidelines (See above)