1. What is LIHEAP?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program was created by the federal government. The program’s primary goal is to help make heating and cooling costs more affordable for low-income households not only now, but also in the future.
While the federal government started the program, how LIHEAP works and the benefits you can receive vary according to the state you live in. You can find the low-income energy office nearest you by going here.
2. How does LIHEAP make energy more affordable?
As mentioned, LIHEAP benefits differ in each state. Overall, the program pledges to offer help in paying your cooling and heating bills to make your current costs low, while also providing home improvements to make energy less expensive later on. Such improvements are referred to as “weatherization” and can make your home more energy-efficient.
LIHEAP can also help in times of energy crisis. For instance, if your utilities are under threat of being shut off, you can fix such a problem with aid from the program.
Although utility bills may include other costs, LIHEAP tends to focus on just the cooling and heating aspects. In other words, your water and sewer bills cannot be covered through this form of energy assistance, unless, for example, some water is tied towards your air conditioning.
It’s worth noting that LIHEAP is not intended to pay all of your energy costs, either. It’s seen more as help towards those costs instead.
For example, if your home’s heat comes from a gas source, you can expect assistance with paying your gas and not your electric bill.
3. How does LIHEAP lower future energy costs?
Getting help with your current cooling and heating costs via LIHEAP is excellent, but it’s the program’s future benefits that may be even better.
Through weatherization, you can enjoy a more energy-efficient home via repairs like:
- Fixing or replacing your air conditioner or furnace (depends on where you live).
- Installing insulation to keep your cooling and heating costs low.
- Fixing windows or doors that are improperly sealed.
By making such repairs, you’ll be able to keep more cool or hot air inside of your home, which will make each month’s bills lower.
4. How can you qualify for LIHEAP?
Unfortunately, LIHEAP benefits aren’t awarded to everyone who applies. The program prioritizes households with high energy costs/needs, and uses income, family size, and other factors to determine who gets help.
To find out if you qualify for assistance, contact your local LIHEAP office. Please note that simply qualifying doesn’t ensure you will receive benefits, as there is a limited amount of funds set aside for the program each year.
To give you an idea of how much demand exists for this program, only 20 percent of qualified households receive assistance. For this reason, it’s best to contact your office today to be one of the first in line.