Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program to help eligible low-income households meet the home heating and/or cooling portion of their residential energy needs. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare administers the LIHEAP funds for all Pennsylvania residents who apply and meet qualifications. LIHEAP in Pennsylvania provides both cash and crisis assistance.
The purpose of the cash program is to provide a one-time payment to help with the heating season's energy costs. Cash benefit amounts vary based on household size and income. The cash grant payment is sent directly to the utility company or fuel provider, and the payment will be credited to your bill.
The crisis program provides funds to resolve a particular crisis but not necessarily the total funds needed to resolve the crisis. To be eligible for a crisis grant, you must have an energy emergency. A crisis grant can help pay for the following:
- Service shut-off
- Utility bills and the turn-on charge to get service restored
- Fuel if you are in danger of being out of fuel
- Expenses for any of the following:
Features of the LIHEAP cash or crisis program:
- Buying a new heating system
- Thawing frozen pipes
- Repairing a broken furnace
- Repairing heat-related water-heating system
- Repairing gas or fuel lines
- Replacing broken windows
- You do not need to be on public assistance.
- You do not need to have an unpaid heating bill.
- You may either rent or own your home.
- There is no expectation to pay back a LIHEAP grant.
- No lien is placed on your home or property for value of LIHEAP support.
- The amount of any LIHEAP payment or allowances provided directly to an
eligible household shall not be considered income or resources of the household
for any purpose under any federal or state law, including any law relating to
taxation, food stamps, public assistance, or welfare programs.
The income eligibility for LIHEAP is 135 percent above the federal poverty income guideline for Pennsylvania. The income eligibility levels change with each new heating season and focus primarily on household size and income level.
Funds for the cash and crisis programs are limited and the program is open for only a short time. Both the cash and crisis programs open each year in November and close in March.
To apply for LIHEAP, you need to apply in the county where you live. The information needed for the application includes:
- Name of each person in your household
- Social Security number and birth date for each person in the household
- Proof of income for each member of household
- Recent heating bill