LIHEAP helps you pay your heating bills! A LGBTQ Perspective

Guest blogger: Rayden Sorock


Did you know there is a program that will help you pay your heating bills if you make under a certain amount of money a year? The eligibility cut off is pretty generous – if it’s just you in the house and you make less than $17,655 a year, you can apply to have part or all of your heating bill paid directly through the heating company. This will appear as a credit on your heating bill, and each month, the bill will be directly paid for out of that credit so you don’t have to worry about paying the bill on time either. Just make sure to keep an eye on it as the credit is reduced. One thing is you can’t be on the budget plan at the same time. The budget plan turns your monthly payments into an average bill so you pay roughly the same amount each month instead of getting slammed each February.

I used this program in 2011 when I was making about $12,000. I filled out the paper application, but you can also do it online. I applied in February, was awarded in April and received about $700 that lasted me the next 12 months. My gas heating bill was between $20 and $250 a month depending on the weather.

Tips:

– It’s best to submit your application early, as they tend to get slammed when the weather really gets cold.
– Make sure to explain anything complicated in your application with ample written description.
– Sometimes going into the LIHEAP office ensures that things are correctly submitted the first time, however it could take up a bigger chunk of your time.

No one should have to endure a heat-less home in the winter, so each year when I find out the program has started again, I try to share it to my networks so the people who need it know it’s available. It’s a great resource.

If anyone has any updated information about this program, or wants to share experiences or tips, please comment below.

Happy heating!

FYI

LIHEAP season has begun as of 11/2/15.

LIHEAP 2015-2016 LIHEAP will operate from 11/02/2015 –04/01/2016

The Cash Grant amounts for those who are eligible are:
$100 Minimum
$1000 Maximum

The Crisis Grant amounts for those who are eligible are:

$25 Minimum

$500 Maximum

LIHEAP pamphlets in English, Russian, Vietnamese, and Spanish are available.

There are also 2 applications (PWEA-1) – one in Spanish and one in English – clients may also apply online www.compass.state.pa.us
What is LIHEAP?

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant. You do not have to repay it.

To receive help…

  • You don’t have to be on public assistance
  • You don’t need to have an unpaid heating bill
  • You can either rent or own your home

How does LIHEAP work?

LIHEAP offers both cash and crisis grants. Families may apply for:

Cash Grants

Cash grants help families pay their heating bills. The grant payment is sent directly to your utility company or fuel provider, and it will be credited on your bill. (In some cases, the check may be mailed to you directly.)

Crisis Grants

Crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat.

Emergency situations include:

  • Broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced
  • Lack of fuel

How do I apply?

LIHEAP Hotline at 1-866-857-7095 or TDD for the hearing impaired 1-800-451-5886

  • Applications are available at your local county assistance office

To apply, you will need

  • Names of people in your household
  • Dates of birth for all household members
  • Social Security Numbers for all household members
  • Proof of income for all household members
  • A recent heating bill

Who is eligible?

You may qualify for a LIHEAP grant if your income meets the following income guidelines:

You will receive a written notice that will tell you if you qualify and the amount of your grant.

INCOME GUIDELINES

2015 – 2016 LIHEAP

(For Homeowners and Renters)

Household Maximum

Size Income

1 $ 17,655

2 $ 23,895

3 $ 30,135

4 $ 36,375

5 $ 42,615

6 $ 48,855

7 $ 55,095

8 $ 61,335

9 $ 67,575

10 $ 73,815

Each Additional Person

Add $ 6,240


LIHEAP LGBTQ

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