Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

What is LIHEAP?

The Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low income people pay their heating bills through energy assistance grants and emergency repair assistance. There are two types of assistance: Cash and Crisis. You may be eligible to apply for one or both.

Who is eligible for LIHEAP?

Both homeowners and renters who are responsible for their heating bills and have a low or fixed income are eligible. You do not need to have an unpaid bill to receive energy assistance. You can receive this money without being on welfare. Clients living in subsidized housing are eligible for the Cash grant only if they pay part or all of their primary heating source directly to a vendor.

What are the income/resource limits?

There is no resource limit. The income limits may change from year to year, depending upon the amount of the funds available. Because these changes can be significant, it is wise to check each year at your county assistance office to see if you qualify. For 2015-2016, the total household yearly income before taxes has to be at or below the level shown in the following chart:


Household Size Annual Income Limit
1 $17,655
2 $23,895
3 $30,135
4 $36,375
5 $42,615
6 $48,855
7 $55,095
8 $61,335
Each Additional Person Add $6,240


What are the differences in the types of LIHEAP assistance?
There are two types of LIHEAP assistance – Cash and Crisis. Depending upon your needs, you may apply for one or both.

The Cash grant is available to assist with your heating bills. You do not need an unpaid bill or to be in crisis situation to receive a Cash grant.

The Crisis grant is for those who have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing their heat. The Crisis grant is separate from the Cash grant and may provide you with additional financial assistance needed to end the emergency. The maximum amount of Crisis assistance you may be able to receive is redetermined each year. You may apply for a Crisis grant more than once in each LIHEAP season, until you have received the maximum amount for that year. Emergency situations include:

  • broken heating equipment or leaking lines which must be fixed
  • being without fuel
  • utility service termination
  • danger of being without fuel or of having utility service terminated.
  • Assistance with energy emergency situations is available 24 hours per day.

How do you apply for LIHEAP?

To apply for LIHEAP call or visit your local welfare office to set up an appointment. You can also apply on-line through Compass. If you can’t go to the welfare office because you are homebound, call the welfare office for help. Be sure to apply in the County in which you live. To apply you will need the following:

  • Names of people in the household
  • Social Security numbers for all household members
  • Proof of income for all household members
  • Recent heating bill.

When does LIHEAP start accepting applications?

LIHEAP applications are only accepted by welfare departments during a certain period of the year. The program runs during the cold weather season. Although the program dates change each year, the opening date is generally sometime in November. For the 2015-2016 season, the program opened on November 2nd. The closing dates for 2015-2016 is April 1st, however, the program end date may be extended or shortened depending on the availability of funds.

Will a lien be placed on the property if energy assistance is received?


When do you know if you are eligible?

A written notice explaining your eligibility and the amount of the Cash grant that will be credited to your account should be sent 30 days after your completed Cash grant application is received. If your application is judged to be incomplete, the welfare office must tell you, within 10 days, what is missing and provide you an additional 15 days to complete it. An application for a Crisis grant must be acted upon within 48 hours. However, if a life-threatening emergency exists, the department must act within 18 hours.

How are payments made?

If you are eligible, a payment will be sent directly to the utility/fuel dealer and the payment will be credited on your bill. In some cases, a check may be mailed to the recipient.

How much is received?

The amount of your energy assistance grant depends on the size of your household, your income and your type of fuel. The grant amounts may change from year to year. The minimum Cash grant amount is $100 and the maximum is $1,000 for 2015-2016. The minimum Crisis grant you will receive is $25 and the amount of the maximum Crisis grant is $500 for 2015-2016.

What if you are not satisfied with the amount or the way you were treated?

If you are dissatisfied you can request a Fair Hearing through the local welfare department. You have 30 days to file this appeal. For additional information or assistance, you may also contact the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project at (800) 322-7572.