How to Apply for Energy Assistance

by Jayme Lee

LIHEAP, is short for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that is funded by the United States federal government. LIHEAP distributes funds to all states in the USA to help needy families or elderly people pay or offset energy costs so they are able to stay cool in hot temperatures and keep warm in winter months. The energy assistance program determines eligibility by using a person or family’s monthly income, utility costs, the number of individuals living in the household and other information depending on a state’s policy. Applying is easy for the low income energy assistance program after gathering the appropriate documents that are required.

Gather your financial records from the past six months. In order to apply, you must provide financial records to determine eligibility for low income energy assistance. According to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), you should make copies of all recent utilities and energy bills. Also make copies of recent pay stubs or records that show your monthly income from receiving social security, unemployment compensation, disability, or other forms of earnings. Include other sources of income from all individuals living in the household. Collect all income tax returns from the previous year. You may need to provide copies to the agency in charge of the low income energy assistance program when you apply.

Make copies of birth certificates and social security cards for all members living in the household. The program requires proof of all persons living under the same roof to be included by using said documents for LIHEAP eligibility.

Look under the government pages in your local telephone book under “public assistance” or “public welfare” to find the telephone number of the assistance office that manages LIHEAP in the county that you reside in of your state.

Contact the agency and ask if you may set up and appointment to interview and apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Have your financial records within reach because you may have to answer various questions that concern your situation.

Put all copies of financial records, birth certificates and social security cards in a folder so they do not become lost, misplaced or stolen.

Attend your appointment on time when applying for LIHEAP and remember to bring your folder of personal documents. Missing an appointment may make getting a future one difficult in a short amount of time due to demand for assistance from other families or individuals.

Tips

  • If you are having difficulty finding the correct agency in the telephone book then contact The LIHEAP Clearinghouse at 1-866-674-6327 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) to get the address and telephone number of the accurate agency in your area who is responsible for managing the program.
  • Ask LIHEAP for a referral to other organizations or agencies that may provide energy assistance programs in your state if you do not qualify.

Warning

  • Never provide false or misleading information when applying for energy assistance. Doing so may cause severe penalties of jail time, large fines and paying back funds if you are caught.

Items you will need

  • Copies of personal financial records and statements
  • Utility and energy bills
  • Copies of social security cards and birth certificates for all household individuals

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Jayme Lee has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles have appeared for various online publishers and through private clients. She dual-majored in social studies education and business administration with a minor in history at the University of Pittsburgh and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Photo Credits

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