Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides energy cost assistance to eligible low-income households for heating and cooling, bill payments, energy crisis assistance, weatherization, and repairs related to energy consumption.

You can get help paying your heat and electric bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program! LIHEAP offers an annual benefit that can help with the high cost of home energy and if you are disconnected or about to become disconnected. It would be best to keep paying your bills regularly since a LIHEAP benefit will not cover your annual heating and electric costs.

Eligibility Criteria

This benefit program is only available to those who need financial assistance paying their home energy bills. Some individuals may be deemed automatically eligible for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program if enrolled in other welfare programs, such as SNAP, SSI, or TANF.

For eligibility, your household income must be below these amounts (before taxes):

Table: Annual Household Income Limits (before taxes)

Household Size*Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1$20,385
2$27,465
3$34,545
4$41,625
5$48,705
6$55,785
7$62,865
8$69,945

*Add $7,080 for every additional person in a household of more than eight. Don’t hesitate to contact the appropriate managing agency for the most up-to-date information.

You can find out whether or not you are eligible to receive Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program benefits by visiting or contacting your state LIHEAP office.

What Is Moratorium?

Under the Moratorium law, regulated utilities may not disconnect service from December 1st through March 15th if they have applied for and are eligible for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The term includes electric and gas utilities, including those owned by municipalities, private companies, and cooperatives. If you have applied for assistance and plan to be disconnected, please get in touch with your utility provider so the company can determine your eligibility. A moratorium is triggered once a household applies.

How It Takes To Receive Benefits

Your local service agency may take 55 days to determine if you qualify if you are eligible. After your benefit has been awarded, it may take another 30 days for your utility company to process your benefits. Until your LIHEAP benefit appears on your account, please continue to pay your utility bills.

When you receive a direct pay benefit, your payment might not be processed until 120 days, or four months, after your benefit approval. If 120 days have not passed since you applied for benefits, please do not follow up.

How do I apply for this program?

Your local provider can help you apply for LIHEAP. You can also apply online. You should contact your local service provider for an appointment rather than applying online if you are about to be disconnected or have already been disconnected.

What should I do if I am about to be disconnected?

Do not mail your application if you are in danger of being disconnected! There may be too much delay in processing mail-in applications to prevent being disconnected. We urge you to call your local service provider, call 2-1-1, or fill out an online application indicating that you need help.

Right To Appeal And Timely Processing Of Your Application

If the Local Service Provider (LSP) who administers LIHEAP in your area fails to act upon your LIHEAP application, you may request an appeal. An appeal can be requested for a LIHEAP application that has not been acted upon on time by submitting a written request to review the case and relevant facts to your local service provider. Within 14 calendar days of receiving your appeal, you will receive a written response.

Similarly, if you are not satisfied with the written response, instructions will be included for a second appeal.

When an in-person appointment is scheduled, LSPs have ten days to determine the eligibility of a LIHEAP application. If the application is delivered by other means, such as drop-off, mail, fax, e-mail, an electronic portal, or proxy, the LSP has 55 days to determine eligibility. An LSP must initiate a mitigating action within 48 hours of receiving a heating crisis notification (defined as getting a utility disconnection notice if they have already been disconnected, or if propane or fuel oil has been consumed less than 25% of a tank, or after ten days of not being able to deliver other bulk fuels). An LSP must provide a mitigating action within 18 hours in a life-threatening crisis (defined as when an existing utility has been cut off or an existing bulk fuel source is disconnected and a documented medical need in the household has arisen due to an extreme safety concern). Mitigating measures might or might not include determining eligibility for LIHEAP within the specified timeframe.

On November 1st, the application deadline for approval of applications officially kicks off, and the official opening date for the program begins. Thus, even if you submit your application early, you will have to wait until 55 days after November 1st to determine eligibility for your application in the absence of a crisis. If your LIHEAP application is denied, you can submit another application, accompanied by updated supporting documentation, within 55 days of the initial application submission.

Contact Information

Call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project for assistance. This free service provides information on where to apply for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. A member of the NEAR team will be available to you from 7 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday. Alternatively, you may contact them by e-mail at energy@ncat.org or by calling 1-866-674-6327.

When Can You Apply For LIHEAP

Applications for energy assistance benefits for the Program Year 2022 will be accepted from October 1st, 2021, until May 16th, 2022.

Important Dates

October 1, 2021: Local Service Providers will begin accepting applications. Online applications will become available.

November 1, 2021: Vendors and applicants begin to receive notification of benefits. The first in-person meetings begin. Applications do not require appointments since you can submit them electronically, via e-mail, or mail.

December 1, 2021: The moratorium on energy begins. LIHEAP applicants who qualify cannot be disconnected from electric and heating services.

March 15, 2022: Protection of the energy moratorium ends.

May 16, 2022: Application deadline for LIHEAP for the current funding cycle.

Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!