It’s that time of the month again when you need to deal with your bills. We’re sure that you share others’ unhappiness when it comes to paying off the bills every month. Well, the federal government wants help to make paying bills a bit easier for you! You can find federal assistance programs that will help with internet bills, housing, and even energy bills! If you are having issues with your energy bills, then you can go for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). LIHEAP focuses on helping out those with limited resources, which is why not anyone can qualify.
LIHEAP: What Is It?
This energy assistance program helps with heating and cooling energy costs, paying bills, and energy-related home repairs (or weatherization). Some popular home repairs would be fixing leaky windows/doors, installing insulation, and fixing/replacing damaged heating or cooling devices. The main form of assistance from the program is to help with the primary heat source of a recipient’s home. Your local or state LIHEAP offices are the ones in charge.
There are two main aspects that you need to keep in mind about this energy assistance program. That would be:
- LIHEAP does not usually offer support for water and sewer bills
- The program does not typically manage all of your energy bills
LIHEAP Eligibility and Benefit Amount
Now that you know what LIHEAP is, you should know how to qualify for its benefits. There are two ways to qualify, which are either meeting the income requirements or participating in a qualifying program. The first requirement we will discuss is the income requirement. Your household will need to meet a certain annual income limit before taxes, which the program details. If you want to know more, you can look at the image below. However, we recommend that you reach out to the nearest LIHEAP managing agency.
The other way to qualify could be if you participate and get benefits from other qualifying federal programs. These programs are as follows:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Applying for LIHEAP
Now that you know how to qualify, let’s go over how to apply. Applying for LIHEAP can be broken down into four steps:
- Check if you’re eligible for LIHEAP
- Gather supporting documents for your application
- Complete and Submit the application
- Wait for the decision
While each state has its own version of the application process these are some basic steps you can expect for them all. Keep in mind, the government will not directly receive your application since they will not provide direct assistance. This is a federally funded assistance option but state regulated program. This means that what applies in one state, might not apply in another state.
You should contact your local LIHEAP office to get more information and find out where you should apply. If you find it hard to contact someone from your local LIHEAP office, you should contact someone from your state’s LIHEAP office instead.
Alternative Programs That Can Support You
LIHEAP is only one of the many assistance programs that you can find from the federal government. If you want to know more about the different assistance programs, then you can consider federal resources for more information. We will tell you about some programs that could lead to you being automatically eligible for LIHEAP, if you are a recipient. These programs include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Another issue that a lot of people are struggling with is paying for groceries. They are a necessity, but they can be very hard to keep up with. SNAP offers monthly funds for recipients to buy foods and groceries from certain supermarkets. You can get these monthly funds through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. SNAP determines the amount you can get based on several factors including how many people are in your household and how much you earn.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Another program that will automatically qualify you for LIHEAP benefits is the SSI program which helps the following low income individuals:
- Blind individuals
- Those with a disability
- Senior citizens
This program offers support like cash support to cover basic daily costs. These costs would include groceries, housing, and clothes.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Just as each state has different rules or laws to abide by, they have different regulations to TANF. While each state may manage its TANF funds differently, they all still have the same purpose. To help struggling households become self sufficient. Some of the benefits you can find from the TANF program are financial relief, child care support, employment aid, and more! Furthermore, the main focus of the program is to support households that have kids and limited income to reach economic independence.
It might not be easy juggling all of your bills every month, with the way the economy is right now. You might find it hard to prioritize which bills you should pay first. However, the federal government tries its best to make sure that American households do not financially struggle anymore. The federal government does this through federal assistance programs that help with different kinds of issues. That would include housing, food, and energy bills! LIHEAP helps with heating and cooling energy costs, paying bills, and/or weatherization. If you want to know more, then you can always reach out to your local or state LIHEAP office.
Furthermore, this federal program allows people to focus on other aspects of their lives and other bills. This makes it easier for people to get back on their feet and reach financial freedom. To qualify for LIHEAP, applicants need to meet income requirements or participate in other federal programs. Either way, you can be able to get benefits that will make your life and financial situation easier!