Are you wondering whether you might qualify to receive LIHEAP assistance? Each state, U.S. territory and tribe has different program criteria that you must meet in order to receive energy assistance through the program.
You can typically find out your local program requirements by visiting your state, territory or tribal LIHEAP office website. However, although the specific criteria can vary across the nation, there are three major elements local agencies use when determining a household’s eligibility for LIHEAP:
Household Income and Size
Whether you qualify for LIHEAP is primarily determined by your household size compared to your maximum income level for the year. Each state, territory and tribe has different maximum income requirements. However, local agencies may permit higher incomes than what is required according to federal law.
You may be able to receive this type of financial assistance if your household income is below the following amounts based on your household size:
- $20,385 for a one-person household
- $27,465 for a two-person household
- $34,545 for a three-person household
- $41,625 for a four-person household
- $48,705 for a five-person household
- $55,785 for a six-person household
- $62,865 for a seven-person household
- $69,945 for an eight-person household
For each additional person in your household, the maximum income figure increases by $7,080 per year. These numbers can also change year to year as income tax laws change.
Another element that determines eligibility is the type of home you occupy.
- Homeowners: The LIHEAP program is available to homeowners who need help paying energy costs and/or paying to make the home more energy efficient.
- Renters: If you rent your residence, you may be able to participate in the LIHEAP program and receive financial assistance in paying for energy bills if you pay for your own energy costs either directly to the energy companies or indirectly through rent payments. However, you might only qualify for weatherization in your rental as long as the landlord agrees to share a portion of the costs.
- Public/subsidized housing: If you live in public or subsidized housing, you may not be able to receive LIHEAP benefits, even if you receive assistance through other state and federal assistance programs. Eligibility depends on where you live and how you pay for utilities.
Participating in Other Federal or State Assistance Programs
Getting assistance from other state and federal programs may indicate that you qualify for the LIHEAP program. If you currently receive assistance through any of the following programs, you may also qualify for LIHEAP:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
In fact, you might automatically qualify for LIHEAP when you apply for and receive benefits from these programs, depending on how your LIHEAP agency manages these programs.
Note that even if you meet your state, territory or tribal program requirements, you are not guaranteed to receive LIHEAP assistance due to a lack of available funds. Local agencies are only provided with a certain amount of LIHEAP money every year, and they must provide that assistance as soon as possible to alleviate weather-related illness, injury, or death in low-income households.
This means it’s common for states, territories, and tribes to run out of these funds or withhold a portion of the available funds to provide money in extreme crises. It may be a good idea to communicate with your local LIHEAP office to understand how early you can submit an application to better secure this assistance.