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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. Remember: this is a grant and does not have to be repaid.

Who is eligible for LIHEAP?

  • You must meet income guidelines
  • You don't have to be on public assistance
  • You don't need to have unpaid heating bills
  • You can rent, or own your home

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.

Here are the LIHEAP Income requirements for 2019-2020:

Household Size Annual Income Limit
Each Additional Person Add$6,630

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
  • the main heating source has been completely shut off
  • the danger of being without fuel (less than a 15 day supply)
  • danger of having a utility service termination (you've recieved a notice that service will be shut of within the next 60 days)

How do you apply for LIHEAP?

To apply for LIHEAP apply online through Compass. If you prefer to apply in person visit your local county assistance office to fill out an application. 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                                                                                                         (An applicant does not need a Social Security number to be eligible for LIHEAP. However, each household member one year of age or older who does not provide a Social Security number must be listed on the Energy Assistance Affidavit. This Affidavit is in the Certification section of the LIHEAP application.)
  • Proof of income for all household members
  • Recent heating bill.

When does LIHEAP start accepting applications?

LIHEAP applications are only accepted by public benefit departments during a certain period of the year. In 2019-2020, DHS’s opening date for both the Cash and Crisis components, including Crisis Interface, is November 1, 2019 with a closing date estimated to be April 10, 2020.

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 public benefits 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 $200 and the maximum is $1,000 for 2019-2020. The minimum Crisis grant you will receive is $25 and the amount of the maximum Crisis grant is $600 for 2019-2020.

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 public benefits 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.

For more information on LIHEAP or for an application, visit the Department of Human Services website or visit your local welfare office.

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